Onyx is a chalcedony quartz with a fine texture and black color. Some onyx also displays white bands or ribbons against a black background. Onyx was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name comes from the Greek word "onux," which means fingernail. The myth is that Cupid cut the divine fingernails of Venus one day while she was sleeping. He discarded the clippings and the fates turned them to stone so that no part of Venus would ever be lost. In Greek times, almost all colors of chalcedony from fingernail white to dark brown and black were called onyx. Later, the Romans narrowed the term to refer to black and dark brown colors only.
Natural pearls are formed when an foreign object becomes trapped in the shell of an oyster or pearl and the animal surrounds the object with several mineral layers in order to protect its soft tissue. Most pearls sold today are farmed pearls, created by intentionally inserting small mother-of-pearl beads in the oyster's shell. The resulting pearls are harvested up to two years later. Pearls come in a range of pastel colors from cream to blue to pink, and irregularly shaped pearls are often called "baroque" pearls. Mabe pearls are hemispherical cultured pearls grown against the inside shell of an oyster rather than in the mollusk's body. Mabe pearls are typically used in settings such as that conceal their flat backs.
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