Sardonyx - Stone of the week

Sardonyx is the alternative stone for an August birthday. It is a member of the chalcedony family and often has bands of white within a red/orange stone. The name comes from the Greek words “sard” which means reddish brown and “onyx” which means veined gem. It is said to be a protective stone and was used to protect children during the plague from catching disease. The stone was placed under the child’s bed. There are some who still place the stone in the corner of their homes and windows to keep themselves and their home safe.

The stone was used to make engraved talisman for Roman soldiers and it was thought that the

gem would channel the attributes of the carving to the wearer. So popular talismans would be engraved with images of Mars or Hercules. It was believed that they would bring courage and victory. The picture to the left is a handmade ring dating from the 19th century. The stone is cut into an Intaglio a helmeted warrior which could be the god Mars. This was a popular theme for Victorian men. Sadly this is the oldest piece that I could find a photograph of to show you. During the Renaissance it was thought to help eloquent speaking so it was worn by public speakers.

Sardonyx Attributes:

· A protective stone that brings happiness, optimism and confidence to the wearer

· Increases self control and encourages motivation, will power and discipline

· Said to help bring new friendships and improve close relationships.

· Aids the thinking process so a good stone for anyone who is studying.

There is a story about Queen Elizabeth I giving a ring to the Earl of Essex as a gift of friendship. She is said to have told him that if he was ever in trouble he was to return it to her and she would save him. He tried to return the ring to the Queen when he was sentenced to death via the Countess of Nottingham. The countess kept the ring as her husband was an enemy of Essex and as a result Essex was executed. When the countess was dying she told the Queen who is reported to have said “May God forgive you, Madam, but I never can”. There are no contemporary accounts of the story so some historians consider it to be a myth. However the there is a ring in the Chapter House Museum in Westminster Abbey that is gold with a sardonyx bust of the Queen. The ring appears to have been made for a woman but then enlarged. What do you think, is it possible that the story is true?


Best wishes


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Please note that the stone attribute section is not proven to be a direct outcome of wearing or owning the stone. It is also not a prescription and should not be used alone to treat health problems.

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Little Stoke, Bristol, UK

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