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. In fact, they are said to allow one to project such an incredible charisma that many people suggest the stone be used with care to avoid overwhelming others. Wear them, they say, when you want extra power in a particular circumstance.
In Ancient Rome, women wore sardonyx necklaces with cameos of Venus in hopes of harnessing the power of the goddess of love. It was also common for soldiers to wear sardonyx rings and carvings containing images of Mars, the god of war, into battle as a means of protection. Sardonyx is an agate whose banding is straight and parallel. Much like agate, it is dyed to enhance or change its colors. Dyeing agate was an art practiced by the Romans from early on, but it reached perfection in the 1820s in Oberstein, Germany. That town is still the world's center for the finest cutting and dyeing of agate. Although the details of the process remain a commercial secret, it is known that iron oxide is a pigment used to create the rich combination of deep orange-reds in red and white bullseye sardonyx and in the red and white-banded variety. Carbon is used to create the striking deep black banding in black and white banded sardonyx. The effects are stunning--ancient agate beads in rich colors perfect for blending with solid colored red or black beads.
Sardonyx is August's birthstone and makes a great gift for anyone born in this month.