Onyx has been known since ancient times, being one of the black gemstones that have been used in jewelry, as a protective stone. This is a gem that used to be extremely valuable, but today is an affordable gemstone that fits any budget.

But onyx is more than just a black stone. It comes in a variety of banded colors and can be carved into beautiful jewelry designs. With its soft, brilliant shine, onyx jewelry is classy and elegant and can be a part of any jewelry collection. And with black jewelry rising in popularity, onyx is having a moment!

So if you’re thinking of buying onyx jewelry, here’s everything you need to know.

What is onyx?

It is a layered variety of chalcedony, similar to agate. In fact, the difference between onyx and agate lies only in the formation of their bands. While agate comes in curved bands, onyx layers are parallel.

Most people think that this stone is only found in solid black, but it actually comes in a variety of colors. The most popular, however, is solid black followed by black and white with stripes. A popular use of onyx was in the cutting of cameos and intaglios. Due to its beautiful layers, gem engravers could manipulate colors to create beautiful reliefs.

This gemstone is commonly found in many regions of the world, including parts of South America, India, Indonesia, China, and Australia.

Buy Onyx jewelry

When buying jewelry with this stone, either online or in a physical store, it is important to evaluate its value considering the following factors:


As mentioned above, it usually occurs in bands of alternating colors. Black is the most famous variety and also the most common black gemstone, but it is almost always dyed to get this color.

Aside from black and white, some other popular banded varieties are sard onyx, which has a brown undercoat and lighter top coat, and carnelian onyx, which has a red undercoat.

Clarity Assessment

Onyx gemstones generally have little to no impurities. They often have high levels of clarity. They have a brilliant to opaque luster and most onyx gemstones are opaque. When buying, look for a smooth surface, without cracks and inclusions. This will ensure that the shine is even and smooth.

Decide on the cut

It is often cut into smooth, shiny cabochons or faceted to maximize brilliance. They can be cut into any popular gemstone shape such as round, oval, pear, emerald, square, trilliant, or marquise.

Smooth cut onyx is just as intriguing as faceted onyx. Because this is a relatively soft gemstone, it also lends itself well to carving. That is why it is popular in cameo jewelry making.

onyx jewelry

Onyx jewelry is elegant and stylish. A little onyx goes a long way, so unless you’re wearing a statement piece, go for a smaller sized onyx. Black gemstones always turn heads because they are not a common choice, so it is a great way to stand out from the crowd with your jewelry.

A pair of dainty onyx earrings, or a small onyx pendant or ring is a perfect accessory for everyday wear. Because of its neutral color, black onyx will go with any outfit.

Some unconventional couples who want something different are opting for black engagement rings. For them, a ring of this stone is a good choice, since it is affordable and very beautiful. It is quite similar to black diamond, although not as durable and brilliant.

However, this is a softer gemstone and although it has excellent wearability, it still needs to be cared for to prolong its life. Wear an onyx setting in yellow or rose gold for a vintage look and strong contrast. When paired with white metals and accent diamonds, this gemstone has a modern, modern look.

Due to its masculine appearance, it is also a favorite for men’s jewelry. They are perfect for studs, rings and even accessories such as cufflinks.

Onyx Engagement Rings

Black engagement rings aren’t for everyone, but for some unconventional couples who want something different, they’re the perfect choice.

Onyx engagement rings are affordable, eye-catching and, simply put, very pretty. They are a less expensive alternative to black diamonds.

However, if you are looking for a sparkling, brilliant and traditional stone, then this is not it. And for most people, an engagement ring lasts a lifetime, so before you go for something very different, make sure you’re really comfortable with the choice.

Not as durable as a black diamond but just as beautiful, onyx is an option for bold and unusual engagement rings.

While this gem is similar to black diamonds in appearance, it does not have the hardness that black diamonds have. It is rated 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, making it a fairly soft gemstone. Even though it has excellent portability, it still needs to be taken care of to extend its lifespan.

While it is not recommended for engagement rings, if you are willing to go the extra mile to extend its life, then it is a gemstone that can last a long time.


Almost all black onyx on the market is dyed to enhance color and achieve even saturation. This is an industry standard and is not unusual.

However, your supplier should inform you that such treatments have been performed on your onyx gemstone. Heat treatments are also commonly carried out on onyx.

The value

Onyx is an inexpensive gemstone and can be found for all budgets. This makes it perfect for costume jewelry, as well as for large, statement pieces.

However, if you purchase a piece of onyx jewelry, you can add value to the item by choosing a high-quality design and setting. This is especially important when choosing onyx bridal rings. Although the gemstone itself may not be expensive and may even need to be replaced, the overall design will be valuable.

Caring for onyx jewelry

Onyx is a relatively hard stone with a Mohs rating of 7. 7 is an important number on the Mohs scale, as it is the hardness rating of quartz, which is commonly found in powder. Any gemstone rated below 7 can be easily scratched, even by dust. It is a quite resistant stone due to its composition, but it can break or chip if it is given a strong blow.

To clean, use soap and warm water with a soft brush to wash the stone. Once washed, be sure to rinse off the soap and dry the stone thoroughly. The use of ultrasonic cleaners is not recommended as they may damage the gemstone.

When you store your jewelry, wrap it in a cotton or velvet cloth, preventing dust from accumulating and other elements from scratching it.

Keep your jewelry away from chemicals such as strong detergents, bleach, and cosmetics. It is always best to remove your jewelry when handling any kind of chemicals or when doing physical or outdoor activities. Protect onyx from bumps and knocks, especially during strenuous activities. This especially applies to onyx rings which are likely to be more exposed than earrings or pendants.