August Birthstones | Sardonyx Overview, Meaning & History

AUGUST BIRTHSTONES

Sardonyx

Sardonyx Overview



Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx—two types of the layered mineral chalcedony—to create a reddish zebra-striped gemstone with white bands.

Its name, similarly, combines sard (referencing the ancient Persian city, Sardis, in present-day Turkey, where the red stone was found) with onyx (from the Greek word of the same spelling, which meant “nail or claw.”)

Sard ranges in color from yellowish red to reddish brown, depending on how much iron oxide is present. Sard is easily confused with carnelian, another type of chalcedony that is slightly softer and lighter in color.

Sardonyx, like onyx, shows layers of parallel bands—instead of the chaotic, curved bands that compose agate, another type of chalcedony.

The finest examples of sardonyx, which display sharp contrasts between layers and are found in India. Other sources include Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Madagascar, Uruguay and the United States.

Measuring 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, sardonyx is widely available and relatively inexpensive as gems, beads, and jewelry. It is often carved into cameos, intaglios and brooches to show the color contrast between layers.

Used as a stone of strength and protection in ancient times, sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness, and clear communication. Ancients believed that placing a sardonyx gemstone at each corner of a house will grant protection against evil.


Jeweler Map

Find a Jeweler

Search for an American Gem Society member jewelry store.

Search

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Would you like to hear more about the latest news, tips, and trends on fine jewelry and gems? Look no further than your inbox! Sign up today to receive our e-newsletter, Brilliance.

Sign Up

Mission Statement

The American Gem Society (AGS) is a nonprofit trade association of fine jewelry professionals dedicated to setting, maintaining and promoting the highest standards of ethical conduct and professional behavior through education, accreditation, recertification of its membership, gemological standards, and gemological research.

The Society is committed to providing educational products to inform and protect the consumer and to contributing to the betterment of the trade by creating industry standards to protect the jewelry-buying public and the fine jewelry industry as a whole.

AGS Laboratories, founded to support the AGS mission, is a nonprofit diamond grading laboratory with a mission of consumer protection. Adhering to the AGS Diamond Grading Standards, AGS Laboratories is dedicated to offering diamond grading reports that provide consistency and accuracy based on science.

American Gem Society

8881 W. Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89117

info@ags.org (866) 805-6500