Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx—two types of the mineral chalcedony—to create a zebra-striped gemstone with red/orange and white bands.
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.
The finest examples of sardonyx, which display sharp contrasts between layers, 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 jewellery. It is often carved into cameos, intaglios, and brooches to show the colour contrast between layers.
Sardonyx can be traced back four thousand years to Ancient Egypt. For most of its history, this stone has been used to create cameos and intaglios. Sardonyx was also popular for use in seals and signet rings to imprint wax emblems on official documents and letters - because hot wax doesn't stick to this stone.
Used as a stone of strength and protection since ancient times, sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness and clear communication. It brings lasting happiness and stability to marriage and partnerships. The spiritual values of red and white-banded and red bullseye sardonyx make these stones particularly powerful.
Whether for beauty, metaphysical properties or date of birth, this gemstone can happily be worn by one and all.