Ladies onyx pendant crafted for Stone Mania in a fine sterling silver setting. This variety of the mineral chalcedony exhibits colourful bands which typically alternate between black and white. Banding in shades of red and brown are also common but those stones tend to be known either as carnelian or sardonyx.
As well as being a particularly elegant stone, it also slightly translucent which is mostly noticeable between each of the vertical bands.
Pliny the Elder the Ancient Roman author and naturalist wrote about techniques used to dye onyx in his encyclopaedia Naturalis Historia. One of the reasons why this stone is considered suitable for dyeing is because it's very porous and it's not widely known that the vast majority of black onyx is dyed. Although onyx occurs in many different colours including black although that is quite rare, colours can be quite subtle which is why it ends up being dyed.
The history of onyx can be traced back even further than the ancient Roman Empire and is said to have been one of the gemstones in the High Priest's breastplate, a religious garment worn by the High Priest during biblical times.
Onyx is widely used as a gemstone and tends to be cut as a cabochon. It has a vitreous lustre so its texture is sometimes compared to glass.
Weight (grams) : 20.3
Size (cms) : 3.7 x 2.7 x 0.7