CHAP. 24.—ONYX: THE SEVERAL VARIETIES OF IT.
We must give some account also of onyx,1
the name which it partly shares in common with sardonyx.
This name, though in some places2
given to a marble, is
here used to signify a precious stone. Sudines says, that in this
stone there is a white portion which resembles the white of
the human-finger nail, in addition to the colours of chrysolithos,
sarda, and iaspis. According to Zenothemis, there are numerous
varieties of the Indian onyx, the fiery-coloured, the black, and
the cornel, with white veins encircling them, like an eye as it
were, and in some cases running across them obliquely.3
Sotacus mentions an Arabian onyx, which differs from the rest;
that of India, according to him, presenting small flames,4
surrounded by one or more white zones; in a manner altogether
different from the Indian sardonyx, which presents a series of
white specks, while in this case it is one continuous circle.
The Arabian onyx, on the other hand, is black, he says, with a
white zone encircling it.
Satyrus says, that there is an onyx in India of a flesh
partly resembling carbuneulus, and partly chrysolithos
and amethystos; a variety, however, which he altogether
disapproves of. The real onyx, according to him, has numerous
veins of variegated colours, interspersed with others of a milk-white
hue; the shades of which, as they pass into one another,
produce a tint which surpasses all description, and blends itself
into one harmonious whole, of a most beautiful appearance.
Not unlike sardonyx, too, is sarda,6
a stone which also has,
in part, a kindred name with it; but before passing on to it,
we must first take some notice of all those precious stones which
have a brilliancy like that of flame.