Most people will see onyx for the first time and think “no not me!” But with more brides choosing to go for something uniquely different today, an onyx engagement ring is worth a look-in. Plus, black is a color that is certainly going to attract attention.
Onyx’s dark and somber shade may not make it the go to piece when looking for attractive jewelry, but if we say every woman’s wardrobe must spot an elegant black dress, a uniquely matching onyx jewelry is a great accompaniment.
Black goes well with literally everything, and onyx does as well too. This is why onyx has been piquing the interest of prominent fashion designers and fashion enthusiasts lately and has made several appearances on celebrities at red carpets for several years. No matter the metal setting, it always stands out, however it is best with white, rose, or yellow gold. Black is perfect!
Now the real question is, how much is known about onyx? So here’s all we have been able to gather about this unusual gem.
What is Onyx?
Onyx is a semiprecious stone of the chalcedony family, displaying several bands that run parallel to each other. While it is mostly found as a black stone, a green to reddish-brown variety exists, which is called sardonyx.
Onyx ranks 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, placing it right in the middle between durable and delicate, which makes it just fine for jewelry pieces. Not exceptional but also not terrible.
Onyx’s bands come in different colors like white and black, which are the most commonly known ones. These kinds of gems that have such base color, and white layered onyx is known as true onyx.
There is another variety that has white and red bands, known as camelian onyx and sardonyx, with its characteristic white, yellow, or brown bands.
Onyx’s history can be traced to biblical times, with the stone mentioned as one of the 12 stones that adorn the breastplate of Israel’s high priests. The name onyx was used to describe other stones like chalcedony, alabasters and onyx marble by ancient Romans. Onyx were popular In the Victorian period as stones used in mourning jewelry.
August’s birthstone, Onyx is great as an engagement ring option or gift for someone born in this month.
Commercial Onyx may be mostly lab created
It is safe to always assume a black onyx has been treated, except a gem certificate explicitly states otherwise. Today, most black onyxes in the market are actually chalcedonites that were dyed black, but their certificate will state that this is the case.
There is a high chance that when shopping for onyx, you might end up with stimulants or lab-created gems that look in every way like onyx but differ in chemistry and structural composition.
Black cubic zironia and black, opaque, devitrified glass have been passed on as onyx substitutes. Black spinel has also been sold as onyxes.
The process of creating black onyxes involve soaking gray-colored chalcedony slabs in a sugar solution and heating with sulfuric acid.
Sources of onyx include Brazil, Argentina, China, France India, Russia, and the United States, among others.
What to Look for in an Onyx Ring
- Best settingfor onyx. Bezel setting works best for onyx gems. The bezel setting is a frame that can go around an onyx stone, ensuring it remains sturdy while the metal takes the pressure off of every day wear or hits to the ring. With a bezel setting, the chances of cracking or chipping are much lesser.
- The cut of the stone. Onyx can be easily shaped in any way since it’s not very strong. Emerald cut is quite popular with this stone. So also is cushion cut, although when it comes to cut, onyx is great in any different cut. So in the end, whatever you choose is only down to your personal style.
- Is it high quality? When it comes to picking an engagement ring, you should always go with reputable jewelers that you can trust. There are stones that look like onyx but are not. An example is banded calcite. Also, when purchasing an onyx engagement ring, always check for scratches and chips on the surface.
How to Care for Your Onyx Ring
Due to onyx’s hardness of 7, they easily resist scratching and since there is no cleavage and can be tenacious, they can resist chips and hold their own physically well. Ultrasonic or steam cleanings are safe, but is still recommended to avoid them. In fact, you want to avoid heat and chemicals as much as possible with onyx.
Mild soap solution can be used to clean onyx. Onyx can be absorbent, so you want to be careful with the chemicals you introduce to it. To avoid chemicals in swimming pools getting close to it, you may want to take off your onyx ring before taking a dip.
Ensure you store your ring in a safe and soft jewelry box separate from other jewelry to avoid scratching or chipping from knocks against it.
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