is a celebrated variety of tinted Agate, having its colours arranged in
parallel strata. The Oriental Onyx is obtained from India, Egypt,
Arabia, and Armenia. The inferioF variety mostly comes from Uruguay,
Bavaria and Bohemia.
50 years ago this Oriental Onyx was greatly valued in this country as
an ornamental stone, and I remember £ 1,000 being paid for a very fine
row of beads of this Onyx, which was got together with much difficulty
; but at the present time the stone has but little value.
Some stone, called by translators Onyx, ranked
among the highest'class of gems in the ante-Christian world. Pliny
likens it in colour to the human finger-nail ; and it is upon this
similarity that its Greek name Onyx is based. The Greeks attached the
following mythological origin to this stone ; " Cupid, with the sharp
point of his arrow, cut the nails of the sleeping Venus, which fell
into the Indus ; but as they "were of heavenly origin they sank, and
became metamorphosed into Onyx."
Onyx has been chiefly used for necklaces, cameos, and costly vessels.
In making the cameo, the figure is carved out of the light colour, and
stands in relief on the dark ground.