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

You’ve likely heard of onyx, but what exactly is it? And where does it come from? This guide will provide you with everything you need to know.

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From lapis lazuli and obsidian to agate and garnet, the world is full of mesmerizing stones. And while you’re likely familiar with a good majority of them (think: ruby, emerald, sapphire, etc.), many are not as widely known — like onyx. 

What exactly is onyx, and where did it come from? This article will provide you with everything you need to know. 

What Is the Definition of Onyx?

According to the Collins Dictionary, onyx is a valuable stone that is commonly used for making jewelry, ornaments, or furniture. 

Like marble, granite, or quartzite, onyx is a mineral. It’s formed from layers of Chalcedony (a silicate mineral made of calcite) and can range in color from back to white. Each color variation has its own special veining patterns, too, and since onyx is a natural stone, no two samples are the same. 

With that in mind, here are some of the most popular varieties of onyx:

  • Black Onyx is a silicate stone created by silicon and is commonly used for grounding, protection, and self-control. 
  • Sardonyx is a unique stone created in layers of red or brown sard stone and the black, white, or green onyx stone. 
  • Carnelian Onyx is a mid-toned, orange stone that’s thought to promote health and vitality. 
  • Niccolo Onyx has a thin upper layer that can sometimes appear blue or gray against the black base color. 

What Is the Origin of Onyx?

The stone’s name comes from the Greek word ‘ὄνυξ’ which means “fingernail’ or ‘claw.” The English word “nail” is cognate with the Greek word. 

That said, onyx was first reported in 77 A.D. by a man named Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder), who mentioned onyx in his book “Naturalis Historia,” which described special techniques used to artificially dye other Chalcedony to look like onyx.

How Was Onyx Used Historically?

Onyx has a long history that dates back to ancient times:

  • In 3,000 B.C., the Ancient Egyptians used the coveted gemstone to make pottery items and other utensils. 
  • In the Ancient Greek and Roman societies, onyx was used to make jewelry, amulets, and other carving materials. 
  • In the Middle East, the jewel was believed to dispel any conflicting or negative emotions, which could be achieved by rubbing onyx between your fingers.
  • In Indian and Persian cultures, black onyx was credited with the ability to absorb all negativity, so it was commonly used as a talisman against evil. 

What Is Onyx Associated With?

Seeing as onyx has been around for centuries, it’s no surprise that the stone is associated with many different things, such as:

  • Zodiac: Gemini and Leo
  • Element: Fire and Earth
  • Chakra: Root Chakra (black onyx) and Heart Chakra (green onyx)
  • Color Candle: White
  • Planet: Saturn (“Gem of Saturn”)
  • Numerical Vibration: Number 6
  • Birthstone: December and July
  • Source: Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, India, Madagascar, and the United States

What Are The Spiritual Properties of Onyx?

Onyx is a healing stone with incredible spiritual properties. It is associated with new beginnings and regeneration in many cultures. Many historical civilizations used the gem to treat blood illnesses, bones, teeth, rashes, inflammation, and infected wounds. 

Considered to have healing properties among the top tiers in the gem world, onyx is said to have benefits that influence feelings, emotions, mind, body, and spirit. This is because onyx is connected to the root chakra. 

In other words, the onyx stone helps the body alleviate symptoms of ailments that are typical of an imbalanced root chakra. These ailments may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Bladder issues
  • Digestive upset
  • Aches and pains
  • Swelling 
  • Menstruation complications

By keeping onyx close to the body, you can rebalance your root chakra which may help to alleviate these issues and their associated symptoms.  

What Stones Are Compatible With Onyx?

When used with certain stones, the power of onyx can multiply. When used with the wrong stones, however, the effects cancel out. With that in mind, here are some of the stones onyx is compatible with: 

How Is Onyx Used?

Onyx can be used for several things, including:

  • Grounding
  • Protection
  • Self-control
  • Discipline
  • Self-confidence
  • Good fortune
  • Focus 
  • Will power

The gorgeous stone can be worn, placed somewhere around the house, or even used when meditating or in feng shui. Known to attract energies of abundance and prosperity, onyx is a strong companion for anyone on a spiritual journey.  

Bottom Line

A captivating gemstone that’s formed from layers of Chalcedony, onyx has been used for centuries to make jewelry, home decor, furniture, and ornaments. It’s also sometimes used for countertops and vanities.

In addition, onyx is an excellent stone for those who need strength, support, and protection. Its soothing qualities alleviate worries while boosting happiness, intuition, and good fortune. The protection stone is also said to repel negative energy as well as activate, cleanse, and balance your chakra.

If you’re thinking about adding onyx to your gem collection, be sure to purchase from an honest and reputable source — there are a lot of fakes out there, so be careful!


  1. Pliny the Elder, The Natural History John Bostock, MD, FRS, HT Riley, Esq., BA, Ed. | Perseus Digital Library
  2. Onyx definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  3. What does Onyx do spiritually? | Sid Martin Bio