Legend has it that as Aphrodite, goddess of love, lay in majestic slumber on the bank of the Indus River, a playful Eros (Cupid) decided to give her an impromptu manicure with one of his trademark arrowheads. Cast asunder, the freshly clipped fingernails rolled down the bank and sank to the bottom of the river, where they were magically transformed by Zeus’ three daughters, The Fates, into splendid black quartz. Thus, ‘onyx’ (a word roughly translated as ‘nail’ or ‘claw’) was born.
The onyx bead gemstone, a banded strain of chalcedony, is actually available in a multitude of different colours- green, grey, white, and brown- but is most well known for, and indeed synonymous with, a deep velvety black. Its metaphysical powers include destruction of negative emotions, deflection of acute negative energy, and defence against evil forces.