Onyx stones are the mystical birthstones for December, often associated with the astrological signs Capricorn and Leo. Onyx gem stones are easily recognisable for their shiny black colour, but the stone is also known for its deep meaning and purported healing powers. The meanings and healing powers of onyx stones are part of the legends of these gems, which date back to ancient Greece and Rome, according to Shimmerlings Jewelry.
The word "onyx" comes from the Greek "onux," which means fingernail. Ancient mythology claims that Cupid cut off the fingernails of the goddess Venus. The clipped nails fell upon the sand, where they turned to stone. Onyx stones actually come in shades of white, brown, red and black, but black is usually the main colour associated with the gem. In ancient Rome, the word "onyx" was used to refer to the dark brown and black stones only.
Onyx stones are varieties of chalcedony. Coloured bands create brown, white or black markings on the stone. Onyx stones have a fine-grain texture. Chalcedony is a form of quartz, which is why onyx stones have a crystalline look and texture.
Some believe that onyx stones have magical properties, and the gem has been used by those who claim to have psychic powers. The stone is believed to hold defensive magical energies, which can aid in protecting the user from harmful spells and negative thoughts, according to Shimmerlings Jewelry.
When used in healing rituals, onyx stones are worn directly against the body. It is believed that onyx stones aid in healing skin problems, such as open wounds and sunburn, reports Shimmerlings Jewelry. Onyx is said to lessen sexual desires, promote happiness and enhance the wearer's intuition. Many believe that onyx stones provide the wearer with strength, both physical and mental. According to the American Gem Society, onyx stones help to control emotions.
Onyx is associated with strength, stamina, courage and self-control. Onyx is considered to be a strong "grounding" stone, which helps people focus their thoughts and concentrate on specific tasks. Thus, onyx is associated with the first (root) chakra, according to Sobriety Stones. Onyx is also strongly associated with protection, because of how it repels and deflects negative energy. The stone is used to assist people who want to detach themselves from negative emotions, or let go of a specific person, place or thing. Onyx stones help to lessen emotional intensity, increasing self-mastery and helping people overcome emotional upheavals associated with change. Onyx is often used in meditation to help people find a deeper spiritual connection and achieve balance.
Onyx stones might play a role in helping people find sobriety. As suggested by Sobriety Stones, the gem can be used in association with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous addiction recovery program. Carry onyx stones during the first step, which focuses on self-mastery and self-control, to repel the negative desire to drink and stick to the path of sobriety. The third step focuses on making the decision not to drink. Onyx stones, which help clear the mind of confusion and aid in focusing thoughts to a specific task, may also aid in completing this recovery step.