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What is Onyx?
Onyx is a semi-precious form of chalcedony which has alternating straight bands of color, most commonly brown, red, white, and black. Chalcedony is the group name for a large family of stones, all of which form from silicon dioxide, also known as quartz.
What does it look like?
In order to be classed as chalcedony, a stone must be milky, and translucent to transparent, often with layers or bands of color. The color of onyx, as with other forms of chalcedony, is created through impurities which seep into the rock as it forms.
The most classic color combination for onyx has red or brown bands alternating with white ones. This form is sometimes also called sardonyx, because the red bands resemble sard, another type of chalcedony. More rarely, black bands will be mixed in, or the onyx will be primarily black. Black onyx is highly prized for use in jewelry and ornaments. Other colors can also be found, although they are less common.