Sardonyx - a kind of agate, which is characterized by alternating red-brown, brown-brown, white and bluish streaks. Hardness of 7.0 on the Mohs scale, density 2.5-2.6 g/cm3, silky luster, glass. Other names: agate onyx, carnelian onyx, agate belt.
Sardonyx (Greek onyx - nail and sard - Sardis, the capital of the kingdom of Lydia) combines the best qualities of chalcedony family: strips of agate and onyx, carnelian warm light colors and dark sard, bluish tone sapphirine. The stone people just could not pass by, and he was known and respected in ancient Egypt: the Cleopatra in the I century BC was the favorite vessel of sardonyx and black antimony powder, which she let down ever. But in contrast to the same strip at sardonyx agate thicker, straighter layers shades range from very dark brown, brown, a brown, red-brown and orange-red to pink and white with a blue tint. Often contrasting layers alternate. Sardonyx is opaque, but there are semi-transparent, translucent three to four centimeters varieties with delicate patterns. The name "sardonyx" goes not to the sard? Nyx, but to sardolith - stone Sard Sardis. This ancient Lydian city on the Aegean Sea was a rich market for colored stones. Sardi (sarderom, sardionom) called and still call the brown variety of chalcedony with red shade, translucent to light. Perhaps this is the most ancient name of all the varieties of silica (quartz, chalcedony, etc.) It's later sardonyx was "sardovym onyx" he has color bonito, and shades of its white layers are similar to the color of the human nail. In addition to the kingdom of Lydia (part of modern Turkey) sardonyx mined in India and South America, and was known for the Aztecs. He still produced in Mexico and Brazil (Minas Gerais), Egypt, Argentina, there are deposits in Australia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.
The Romans began to use sardonyx to make carved images of seals, rings, cameos. It is believed that sardonyx became fashionable thanks to Roman general and statesman Scipio Africanus, who had some signets of sardonyx. The fact that the sardonyx has the remarkable property to it or stick viscous substances such as wax and clay, so it is suitable to use as a print. People wore jewelry and sardonyx, prosverlivaya holes in them, and still cut of sardonyx beads. And if there was a market for colored stones, then appeared and forgery. Pliny the Elder describes a method for simulating sardonyx by gluing three stones of different colors, "... This stone is hard to distinguish from the fake, because that opened the way to do this from fake stones of another kind. Sardona glued three other stones so skillfully that it is impossible to detect dark matter out there, there is white, there minium, and all the best. " In the ancient texts used the name "Sardona." In those days, sardonyx highly regarded, almost on a par with sapphires, the stones were required quality: colorful layers were lying right, exactly.
Sardonyx is closely linked with the symbols of the Christian religion. He mentioned several times in the religious literature, and therefore inherited the wonderful different properties, such as property rejuvenate the body. In "Apocalypse," described the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise city, which has a wall with twelve foundations, each of which is decorated with stone sardonyx adorns his fifth base. In addition, all the stones in the medieval theological works were distributed among the twelve sardonyx devoted Apostle Philip, heal those bitten by snakes and raise the dead. Hence, apparently, and stretch marks properties sardonyx. The famous Jewish historian and military commander I century in Josephus' Jewish Antiquities "mentions sardonyx as part of vestments of the priest:" Two sardoniha, when used instead of zippers in garments ... represent the sun and the moon. "
In "The Life of St. Basil the New" is a detailed description of the celestial palace, where at the table with a meal sitting Virgin. On the table of fruit and other food are gems: "The meal is great Misa Lying pozlascheny, like a lightning videniem, kamenoobrazny izmaragdy, sardonihi green light there, from every stone, proceedeth from Raa exceedingly izmechtani, resulting in height." - "On the table were large golden dishes, shining like lightning, were emeralds, bright sardonyx stones, and various other heavenly, beautiful and perfect." As can be seen, sardonyx was considered so precious that close with emeralds lay before Our Lady. In the Renaissance, made of sardonyx cups, they encrusted jewelry, and even there he coexisted with precious stones, for example, in the large mirror that belonged to Louis XIV, the Sun King. Gold mirror is made in 1600 and is decorated with busts of garnet, emerald, and finished with sardonyx cameos.
Perhaps most importantly, why people from the beginning of our era hunt for the best instances of sardonyx, - a multi cameos, carvings in stone. Multi-colored layers sardonyx for them - the best material often dark layer served as a backdrop, and on it from the next white layer was cut, for example, the profile of the emperor. Cut also paired profiles royal couple, allegorical scenes, mythological characters, gods and goddesses, scenes from mythology, etc. Art carving cameos flourished in IV century BC center for the production of cameos became Egyptian Alexandria. Names of the first masters of Alexandria did not survive, though many carvers still remain in the history of jewelry. Cameos of this period - the sample skill, skillful mastery of the material.
In those days, in the III century BC in Alexandria by Ptolemy II Philadelphus rules, the son of the commander of Alexander the Great. He was married a second time at his sister Arsinoe - marriage, though the ancient Egyptian traditions, but unacceptable to the Greeks. But Arsinoe II actively took part in the affairs of government and may therefore become his wife, deified after death. These Hellenistic spouses pharaohs forever immortalized by an unknown master in stone - the famous Gonzaga cameo. Doubles profile portrait made on a three-layer sardonyx on a dark background carved profile of Arsinoe bluish layer, then the profile of Ptolemy layer of warmer hue, making the face appear more tanned. From the upper layer of brown carved king helmet, his hair and cloak clasps as the head of Medusa the Gorgon and Phobos. On the helmet wedding wreath on her hair Arsinoe - too. It was the kind of wedding photography. It's amazing how cutter managed to convey the living expressions of spouses: femininity face queens and manly, stern face of the king. Cameo gets its name from the fact that in the collection of the Marquis Francesco II Gonzaga, the patron of the Renaissance, the ruler of the Italian city of Mantua. In 1542, it produced the first known description of the cameos, though pictured on her face were identified incorrectly: "Most cameo has been set in gold, with relief portraits of Caesar, and Libya, with gold garland around, with laurel leaves of green glazes, with a pearl at the bottom, with decorated with black reverse side. " Cameo and visited the Prague Castle and the Vatican has not yet got to France, where she became the property of Napoleon's first wife Josephine de Beauharnais. After the defeat of Napoleon's forces Josephine gave her Russian Emperor Alexander I, who retained the family Beauharnais his position and income. In 1814, the Emperor gave Gonzaga Cameo to the Hermitage, where it is stored until now.
Sardonyx cameo to cut in times of antiquity interests in XVIII-XIX centuries, European monarchs were collected from the entire Glyptothek carved cameos, ancient and modern. Kuprin, a lover of stones, said sardonyx - gem "beloved kings and queens." In "Gemma" he described sardoniksovuyu gem, which was considered an amulet, "Who is it with you - he can not be afraid of sudden and disastrous love to the person of the other sex."
Sardonyx in ancient times divided into male and female stones. Ladies are lighter shades, male - darker. Respectively distributed and therapeutic properties of stone bearing male was considered useful for healing, splicing broken bones, female - for the early conception. Pliny believed that sardonyx provides a happy marriage, cures for melancholy, protects against the evil eye and witchcraft. In medieval medical literature on the drug of sardonyx, "Who rastershi it in the water, drink the water, the swelling goes down to the abdomen, and he will get relief."
In India and the East sardonyx is credited to the owner the ability to attract good fortune and luck. In European countries, it symbolizes strength, vitality, strong happy marriage. Sardonyx is a stone amulet, amulets travelers and philosophers of sardonyx help get rid of unnecessary fears. It is believed that he opens his master concealed information, promotes scientific understanding of the world and its phenomena.
According to the Bible, the works of European theologians and mystics X century sardonyx stone is July. As of July, with two signs: Cancer and Leo. Russian sources XIX century (dusting, Svyatskiy, Mamin-Siberian, Kostromin, etc.), as a whole goes back to Isidore of Seville and Josephus indicate that Sardonyx is a stone of August. In August, celebrate birthdays Lions and Virgo. Thus, sardonyx most suitable for the Lions, Rakov and Dev, who can learn from communicating with sardonyx maximum useful. Representatives of the other zodiac signs can not be afraid to wear this stone: Sardonyx brings positive energy, lights all around with a warm light.