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Don't buy a Cameo before you read this!
"10 Things You Should Know..."

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DESIGNER JEWELRY by PRESTON REUTHER
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Cameo Jewelry Articles

BLACK ONYX JEWELRY

BLACK ONYX JEWELRY INFORMATION

by Preston Reuther Master Wire Sculptor 

black onyx necklace 

 

Black onyx was very popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name comes from the Greek word onyx, which means fingernail. The story is that one day a  Cupid cut the divine fingernails of his mother Venus with an arrowhead while she was sleeping. He left the clippings scattered on the sand and the fates turned them into stone so that no part of her heavenly body would ever perish.

While black isn't the color we normally associate with fingernails, back in ancient Greek times, onyx referred to almost all colors of chalcedony from fingernail white to dark brown and black.

Years later, the Romans narrowed the term onyx to refer to black and dark brown colors of chalcedony. If the onyx was reddish brown and white, it was called sardonyx. Sardonyx was highly valued in Rome, especially for seals, because it was said to never stick to the wax. Onyx stones with even bands of color were made into cameos. In jewelry as well as fashion, colors always seem to look crisper against a background of black.

In many pieces of fine jewelry, that needed a black backdrop has often been supplied by black onyx, chalcedony quartz with a fine texture and deep black color. Black onyx especially shines when it is used as a backdrop for color play. The fine texture is ideal for carving, making it a favorite material of lapidary artists both past and present.

black onyx pendant 

Onyx was often used as the perfect partner for the carved rock crystals and the vivid red of rubies found in Art deco designs.

Today, black onyx can still be found in use as the backdrop for both carved opals and as the base for opal inlays with the deep black showing the dazzling opals to their best advantage.

Black onyx cabochons are very reasonable and can be purchased for just a bit of spending change at most jewelry suppliers. BUT! don't look for those cheap prices at retail jewelry stores you won't find them. You need to look to the stone cutter, the home jeweler or the indiependt jewelry artist to get the price you want and save as much as 95% OFF OF RETAIL!.

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Preston Reuther is a Master Wire Sculptor that has been collecting, showing and desiging black onyx jewelry for more than 20 years. He has written several e-books, 34 jewelry making dvds and over 1000 articles on jewelry design and creation. Visit his Black Onyx Jewelry Collection at www.cameojewelry.com   or call 816- 689-2779

 

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