[ sahr-don-iks, sahr-dn- ]
/ sɑrˈdɒn ɪks, ˈsɑr dn- /
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a chalcedony that is used for cameos and has sard and chalcedony of another color, usually white, arranged in straight parallel bands.
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Origin of sardonyx

1300–50; Middle English <Latin <Greek sardónyx;see sard, onyx
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does sardonyx mean?

Sardonyx is an opaque (non-clear) gemstone that’s commonly reddish-brown with white layers.

Sardonyx is a variety of the mineral chalcedony, a kind of quartz.

The bands of sardonyx are formed by alternating layers of the minerals sard and onyx. The color of the sard portion can range from yellow-red to a reddish-brown. Because the onyx portion can be banded, it can be considered a type of agate.

Sardonyx is considered a semiprecious stone, a label given to stones that hold a lesser value than those considered precious.

Sardonyx is one of the birthstones for the month of August. It’s associated with the zodiac sign Leo.

Sardonyx is known for its use to create carved gems known as cameos.

Example: I wear this sardonyx cameo amulet because I was born in August.

Where does sardonyx come from?

The first records of the word sardonyx come from the 1300s. It comes from the Greek sardónyx or sardonux. Sard comes from the Greek sardios, meaning “stone from Sardis.” The word onyx comes from the Greek ónyx, meaning “nail,” “claw,” or “veined gem.”

Sardonyx is actually two combined forms of the silica mineral chalcedony: sard and onyx. The red tone of the stone is dependent on the amount of iron oxide.

Sardonyx has been used since ancient times, including by the ancient Romans, for signet rings, seals, and cameos.

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How is sardonyx used in real life?

Sardonyx is known for its use in cameos and as one of the birthstones for the month of August.

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True or False?

Sardoyx is a variety of the mineral chalcedony.

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British Dictionary definitions for sardonyx

/ (ˈsɑːdənɪks) /

a variety of chalcedony with alternating reddish-brown and white parallel bands, used as a gemstone. Formula: SiO 2

Word Origin for sardonyx

C14: via Latin from Greek sardonux, perhaps from sardion sardine ² + onux nail
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012