What is White Onyx?
Although Onyx is found in numerous locations around the globe, White Onyx originates from ancient Persia (now known as Iran) and can also be found in Mexico, Turkey and Brazil. This natural stone has been considered both rare and valuable for centuries and was highly prized as a luxury item in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. It's a precious material valued for its creamy white and soft ivory colouring and is now used predominantly for grand interior design applications such as expensive wall facings, flooring, elegant staircases and due to its translucent qualities decorative lighting, vases and of course jewellery.
Onyx is a form of Chalcedony, it is formed when calcite laden groundwater flows out from a spring and the mineral rich waters then form into a crust of calcite crystals. Onyx has a waxy luster and is recognised by its parallel coloured bands, it's most commonly known as a black gemstone, but also naturally occurs in green, orange, red, brown, pink, blue and white. Onyx is also found in mixed variations, such as a white and brown version referred to as Sardonyx, and a red and white known as Carnelian onyx. It is not uncommon to find Onyx that has been dyed to enhance its colour especially in the black variety but, it's important to note that this doesn't lessen the quality or value of the stone.
The term Onyx derives from the ancient Greek word ‘Onux’ which means fingernail or claw. In Greek Mythology the legend has it that one day Cupid clipped the nails of his mother Venus while she was sleeping, and because no part of the divine body could ever be destroyed, the gods transformed the clippings into stone as they fell to the ground.
Onyx has been used for thousands of years across many different cultures. The Ancient Egyptians used onyx in their pottery while the Ancient Greeks and Romans carved amulets, talismans and jewellery from it.
This image shows a lot from Christie's Auction House of a Roman Onyx Cameo Ring Circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD sold in 2008 for USD 1,750
An interview with Suzie Menham
Q.Thank you for sending in photographs of your incredibly beautiful necklace featuring White Onyx. Could you tell us a little more about how you made it, and what inspired your design?
A: I love long line necklaces and this beautiful gemstone is perfect for a monochromatic look, it has a translucent inner glow, which is mesmerising, so I wanted to use it with Black Jadeite and Spinel - two other incredible gemstones! I wanted a wearable and versatile look, so adding the gorgeous White Onyx drop seemed the perfect accompaniment to finish this design. The translucent glow of the White Onyx was a perfect gemstone to make this design.
Q. Other than what you have already used, what would you recommend as a companion gemstone(s) for White Onyx and why?
A: The beauty of this gemstone lends itself perfectly with most gemstones in my opinion. I think pastel coloured gemstones such as the Beryl family eg Morganite and Aquamarine, or maybe Kunzite, Rose Quartz, Amethyst or even Peridot would look simply amazing for a soft feminine design, each gemstone complimenting the other. But again, you could go bold with deeper darker colours (as I did) contrasting the softness of the White Onyx against Opaque gems such as Jasper, Turquoise, or Pietersite for instance. This is a gemstone that can be companions with so many gems, that’s one of the reasons why I love working with it!
Q. Many people will recognise you as one of our regular Guest Designers on Jewellerymaker and in particular for your love of the metaphysical properties of gemstones. Could you tell us a little about White Onyx and how one might benefit from owning this stunning gemstone?
A. Oh I love this question Hannah and White Onyx is a beautiful gemstone to wear . It’s fantastic for clearing negative energy and is a great stress buster. White Onyx is part of the Crown Chakra, Known as the “Bridge to the Cosmos.” The crown chakra is like your personal line of connection to realms beyond our own, so it’s great to meditate with or if you want to find resolution to issues that may be troubling your mind and worrying you. If you wear White Onyx it really can relieve and lower stress and helps you get rid of any negativity around you. Teaming it with Black Jadeite as I have also keeps you grounded and protected too. It is a powerful stone to carry and will shield you from negative energy and has even been used in Feng Shui to harness the same benefits of protection for your home or work space.
Where can I buy White Onyx?
If like Suzie and I, you have fallen in love with the hypnotic glowing beauty of White Onyx and simply have to own some for yourself, you can follow this link to find not only White Onyx but also other Onyx gemstones that we believe will team perfectly with it: Inspire me!