The name onyx was used by the Romans for a variety of stones including Alabaster, Chalcedony, and what is now known as Onyx marble. Roman soldiers wore Onyx talismans engraved with heroes such as Hercules or Mars, god of war. They believed that the stone would make the wearer as brave and daring as the figured carved on it. During the Renaissance, Onyx was believed to bring eloquence upon the wearer and was regarded with great value by public speakers and orators.
Cameos are cut from stones, such as Onyx, Sardonix or agate, where different colors occur in layers. The background material is cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief. Onyx is also used in intaglios because its layers can be cut to show a color contrast between the design and the background. Sardonyx at one time was more precious than gold, silver, or Sapphire. Sardonyx is always widely used in cameos and intaglios.
This gemstone eliminates negative thinking, it is also believed to sharpen the wits of the wearer. Onyx is said to bring spiritual inspiration. It is a great assistance in holding emotions and passions under control. Black Onyx is used to help one change habits.