The Sardonyx gemstone has a notable lineage with its earliest presence dating 4000 years ago in Egypt. Ancient Romans used this colourful gemstone for signet rings and official seals. Over millennia, this flamboyant August birthstone has been employed to create stunning carvings for intaglios and ornaments.
Photo courtesy of Scott Papper, GIA GG, AJP, CM (NAJA), Global Gemology & Appraisals
With such a celebrated background, Sardonyx was also hailed as a gemstone possessing powerful metaphysical properties. Sardonyx is considered to be a protective gemstone. It epitomises the positive vibrations of optimism and joy. Sardonyx is said to support inner growth and generate an aura of positivity to improve overall well-being. This most ancient example of this August birthstone is said to be helpful in promoting clear communication, to usher in marital stability, and boost happiness and motivation.
Sardonyx jewellery is an excellent choice as it adds a powerful and intense accent to any outfit. Whether you use it as a stand-alone statement piece or as an element of intriguing beaded patterns, Sardonyx can effectively stand out as a focal point. If you are interested in pairing multiple gemstones, consider combining colourful Sardonyx with black Onyx or the fiery reddish orange tones of Carnelian or even Garnet.
Sardonyx is a stunning blend of two cryptocrystalline quartz known as sard and onyx. The alternating layers of these mineral chalcedonies create an exquisite zebra-stripe of reddish yellow and white bands. Depending on the amount of iron oxide saturation, the colour of sard varies from red-tinged brown to orangish red. Sard is often mistaken as Carnelian which is softer in constitution and lighter in shade. The uniqueness of the Sardonyx gemstone is characterised by the presence of symmetrical layered bands and not curved or disorganised bands like Agate.
Sardonyx is most abundantly found in India. India produces some of the finest specimens of Sardonyx with diverse and spectacularly contrasting coloured layers. This mineral is also found across Latin American locations like Brazil, Uruguay to European regions of Germany, and in the lands of Madagascar and the United States.
Sardonyx like many of its chalcedony counterparts are generally dyed. Artificially dyed Sardonyx sometimes loses colour during the process of heat treatment. Finding the best Sardonyx primarily involves identifying an authentic, natural and splendidly coloured sample. Relatively inexpensive and easily accessible, Sardonyx is moderately priced up to the weight of 10 carats.
Though the Sardonyx gemstone has been fashioned into many fascinating silhouettes, the cabochon remains the most common shape. Sardonyx has been imitated since the Roman times. Colour treatment with nitric acid for enhanced contrast or dyeing with iron oxide from deeper pigmentation are common enhancements. When compared to natural Sardonyx, such artificially enhanced gemstones are much less valuable.
A good quality, natural Sardonyx can range between US$50 and US$100, depending on its carat weight. The banded appearance of Sardonyx with remarkably prominent colourful veins drives the value of a Sardonyx gemstone. It can be an inexpensive addition to your collection as a rough stone or a piece of beautiful jewellery.
If you are in love with the idea of a stunning coloured gemstone, check out our collection of Coloured Gemstones
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