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August Birthstone - Sardonyx



Sardonyx, a relatively common and inexpensive gemstone, has a translucent orangey/brown body color with lighter or white banding. Sardonyx is a variety of chalcedony, as is agate which means it is banded.  Chalcedony is one of the largest varieties of stones in the gemstone world. Other types of chalcedony include Bloodstone, Chrysoprase, and Carnelian.

Sardonyx was a favorite gemstone in ancient times, popular not only because it was attractive, but also because it was widely available. Unlike most rare gemstones that could only be bought with the wealth of royalty and nobility, sardonyx could be obtained by many less-wealthy people.

A Stone of Strength

Sardonyx is a stone of strength and protection, used to enhance willpower, integrity, stamina and vigor. Roman soldiers wore sardonyx talismans (objects bearing a sign of astrological influence to guard from evil and bring good fortune) 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, sardonyx was believed to bring eloquence upon the wearer and was regarded with great value by public speakers and orators.

Folklore says sardonyx helps promote healthy relationships, and helps to balance heaven and earth. It is believed to bring lasting happiness and stability to marriage and partnerships. It attracts friends and good fortune.

Some people use sardonyx as a protection grid, placing it at each corner of the house and at doors and windows to prevent crime and misfortune.

Sardonyx in Jewelry Design

Carvers make the most of the alternating white, black, and brown bands in sardonyx to create decorative cameos.

Perhaps the most famous sardonyx stone was set in a gold ring, carved with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth I of England. It was given to the Earl of Essex by the Queen as a token of friendship, and she assured him that she would always come to his aid if he ever requested it. The Earl, imprisoned for treason, was condemned to be beheaded. He tried to send the ring to his Queen but it fell into the hands of Lady Nottingham, whose husband was an enemy of the Earl of Essex. Thinking that the Earl was too proud to ask for her mercy, the Queen allowed his execution. It wasn’t until the deathbed confession of Lady Nottingham that the Queen learned the truth, which left her heartbroken.


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