from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An onyx with alternating brown and white bands of sard and other minerals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A gemstone having bands of red sard; a variety of onyx or chalcedony.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A variety of onyx consisting of sard and white chalcedony in alternate layers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A chalcedony or agate consisting of two or more layers of brown or red combined with white or other color. Since about 1870 the name has been given to a chalcedony stained with various shades of red to deep brown.
  • n. In heraldry, a tincture, the color murrey or sanguine, when blazoning is done by precious stones.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an onyx characterized by parallel layers of sard and a different colored mineral


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English sardonix, probably from Latin sardonyx, from Greek sardonux : sardion, sard; see sard + onux, onyx, nail; see nogh- in Indo-European roots.


  • Heb., but the twelfth in the Greek; it is called sardonyx and comes in the fifth place in Apoc., xxi, 20.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

  • But the sardonyx was a finer stone than the amethyst, and he ended by giving me three hundred and fifty livres.

    Sir John Constantine Memoirs of His Adventures At Home and Abroad and Particularly in the Island of Corsica: Beginning with the Year 1756

  • He drew with the sinuous curves and twining lines of Art Nouveau, and he dared to combine diamonds and precious stones with horn, ivory, agate, sardonyx, copper, brilliantly colored enamel and eventually glass.

    A Display of Lalique's Beauty

  • I learned from sardonyx that links to Steve's Daily Kos posts can be found on Steve's dKosopedia pages.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • "The Immortal Alexander the Great," at Amsterdam's branch of the Hermitage, will include the Gonzaga Cameo, a reddish sardonyx engraving of Alexander that shows off his fabled good looks, and brightly painted manuscripts from 15th-century Persia like "Iskandar and the Hermit," created to entertain the sultans.

    Xanadu, Sacramento and Beyond

  • A sardonyx cameo, for example, probably a privately owned trinket in antiquity now in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, represents Livia wearing the costume of the cultic mother-goddess Cybele over her stola and contemplating a miniature bust of her deified husband, which she holds in her right hand.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • This is secured at her shoulder with a fibula brooch of onyx and sardonyx brooches hung with delicate teardrop-shaped gems of emerald, glass, and gold, whose appearance in coin is closely paralleled in archaeological finds that have been made around Europe.13

    Caesars’ Wives

  • It was so familiar she could see it with her fingers: the broad crescent of silver from which hung three stones: sardonyx, black opal, and bloodstone, each inscribed with spidery writing in the language of the Wildworld.

    The Night Of the Solstice

  • There are necklaces of gold papyrus blooms, rosettes, and argonauts, and polished amethyst, carnelian, and sardonyx beads.

    Minoans in Manhattan

  • At the Carolingian period, the kantharos of sardonyx was transformed into a chalice from adding a foot decorated with a circular node decorated with precious stones.

    Archive 2008-01-01


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  • Murrey's fun, too--but you'd found that one already.

    January 7, 2013

  • Great of you to notice the heraldry sense, ruzuzu. New one for me.

    January 7, 2013

  • "In heraldry, a tincture, the color murrey or sanguine, when blazoning is done by precious stones."


    January 7, 2013

  • S'ARDONYX, n. L. sardonyches, from Gr. from Sardis, a city of Asia Minor, and a nail; so named, according to Pliny, from the resemblance of its color to the flesh under the nail.

    A silicious stone or gem, nearly allied to carnelian. Its color is a reddish yellow, or nearly orange. We are informed that the yellow or orange colored agate, with an undulating surface, is now often called sardonyx.

    January 18, 2009

  • ~ A variety of onyx consisting of sard and white chalcedony in alternate layers

    January 18, 2009

  • Ha ha ha! Sounds like something out of Lewis Carroll, doesn't it?

    May 4, 2007

  • You're right, arby. And as soon as I can manage it, I intend to use this word in precisely that way. :-)

    March 28, 2007

  • I wish it meant sardonic onyx, how great would that be?

    March 28, 2007

  • Not an especially sarcastic mineral, but a kind of chalcedony used for cameos that contains sard and chalcedony of another color, usually white, arranged in straight parallel bands.

    March 13, 2007