Black Onyx Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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If you know anybody interested in geology, spiritual healing, or the zodiac, you may have heard of black onyx. But what is black onyx? Where did it come from? Is there any important spiritual meaning behind it?

Those are questions that this article seeks to answer. By the end of this read, you’ll have a solid understanding of what black onyx means, where the word comes from, the historical significance of the word, and so much more. 

So, let’s get started and see what this interesting phrase is all about. 

What Is the Definition of Black Onyx?

Black onyx is a cool phrase. Even the look of these words evokes a sense of mystique and wonder. Here is the definition of black onyx:

  • A silicate variety of chalcedony with a black color and parallel, white bands

Essentially, black onyx is a gemstone. It’s a specific type of microcrystalline quartz called chalcedony. The thing about black onyx that makes it so unique is that it has nearly parallel bands of color in it. 

These parallel bands allow highly skilled artists to carve out images from the stone, keeping the piece unified and allowing for a stark, beautiful contrast naturally. 

These images are typically white figures with a black background. These black and white gemstones are called “true onyx” or “arabic onyx.”

The onyx stone is closely related to agate. It is technically a form of agate, but it specifically has the black and white colors associated with it. Instead of swirls of color, the veins run parallel to each other. 

Black onyx, specifically, is quite a unique and rare stone. Black onyx is created when the veins of color in the onyx are so thick that you can cut whole black stones out of the large veins. So, a black onyx stone is a completely black piece that is cut from a large piece of black and white onyx. 

Black onyx jewelry has become quite popular, and jewelers make earrings, amulets, and even some engagement rings that feature a black onyx gemstone. 

Black onyx is mined in the US, Brazil, Madagascar, Uruguay, Pakistan, and Yemen. 

Where Did the Word Black Onyx Come From?

The word onyx has quite an interesting and unorthodox history. While most words evolve from a previous form of the word in an ancient language, the word onyx comes from an ancient legend found in Roman mythology. 

According to the legend, the Roman goddess Venus was sleeping one day. While she slept on the shores of the Indus River, the Roman God Cupid clipped her fingernails with one of his arrows and scattered them along the ground and the sand. Some even fell into the river. 

Because the bodies of gods could not die, these pieces of fingernails eventually turned into the stone that we know as onyx. 

How does this relate to the word we have for onyx? Well, the word onyx is derived from the Greek word onux, which means “fingernail.” Even today, we still call this precious stone by that name.  

What’s the Spiritual Significance of Black Onyx?

Black onyx has held spiritual significance in various cultures throughout history, with several differing meanings.

For example, in China in the 19th century, only enslaved people and servants would mine for the precious stone. None of the nobles or upper-class citizens would touch it because they feared it would bring bad dreams, bad luck, and bad energy. They would sell it to other countries without ever touching it. 

In the Middle East, people held similar beliefs about black onyx. In Arabic, black onyx is called el jaza, meaning “sadness.” So, for at least part of history, black onyx had a bad reputation in many eastern countries. 

There wasn’t such a bad association in India, but Indian people still believed it could dampen your sex drive. They also believed that it could contain or restrict energy of any kind. 

A Change in Perception

Before there was a stigma around the stone in Ancient China, there was a positive spiritual association with the stone. It is said to have certain metaphysical properties and even healing properties. 

In the Chinese practice of feng shui, black onyx is said to be a root chakra stone, helping to keep you grounded to the energy or chakra of the earth. It cleanses your body of excess chakra to achieve balance. 

This protective stone was thought to bring good fortune and improve self-control. People would put it in amulets, and the wearer could boost self-confidence, experience fewer angry outbursts, and even kick bad habits. 

They are also said to have healing powers, specifically emotional healing. These healing crystals can help you process grief. They can even protect your spirit if you try to connect on a psychic level with a past life. 

In addition to helping align your chakras, it could also protect you from evil spirits and negative energy.

Not to mention, black onyx is the birthstone for Leo and Capricorn in the Chinese Zodiac. 

What Are Some Example Sentences for Black Onyx?

Here are some examples of black onyx being used in a sentence. 

I’m trying to boost my self-esteem, so I bought some earrings with black onyx. 

The black onyx talisman in the museum was stunning, but my favorite exhibit was the ornamental gold breastplate.

I want to get my hands on a black onyx crystal and try to make a carving out of it. 

I don’t know if black onyx brings any physical healing or could help your immune system, but it can balance your chakras and energy. 

The Word Black Onyx

Black onyx is a beautiful gemstone used for millennia in jewelry, art, and spiritual practices. And now you know everything you need to know about black onyx, its definition, and its meaning. Go use this word confidently in your writing and conversation, and if you need a refresher on what it means, just come back to this article for the information you need. 


Onyx Symbolism and Legends | International Gem Society 

Onyx Value, Price, and Jewelry Information | International Gem Society 

Onyx | American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)