Some fashion trends never go out of style, and black jewelry is one of them. It’s no wonder why black onyx is one of the most popular gemstones in men’s jewelry. It’s sleek, intriguing, refined—and just edgy enough to elevate an outfit from casual to cool.
But what is the history of black onyx in jewelry for men? When did it start to make its way into the cutting edge of men’s fashion, and how do you style black onyx rings in today’s fashion?
The History of Black Onyx Rings
The history of black onyx in civilization dates back to Ancient Egypt, where artists of the Second Dynasty used it to make pottery. The first use of black onyx for jewelry originated in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, where fine artists would carve cameos and intaglio images (such as portraits, animals, and symbols) in the onyx gemstone.
These carved onyx stones were often used in large earrings or mounted on signet rings. Though the art of carving onyx was lost towards the last centuries of the Roman Empire, the rediscovery of these artifacts sparked a revival of the artform’s popularity in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and following centuries.
The 18th century’s neo-classical revival inspired travelers and students to purchase reproductions of the ancient onyx signet rings, to display their social status, intellectual cultivation, and elegant taste.
Black onyx jewelry would reach more mainstream popularity in the Victorian Era, which was inspired by the aesthetics of ancient art. Onyx gemstones were popular in Victorian mourning jewelry due to their beautiful yet melancholy appearance. Uses of black onyx rings would become more versatile later during the Art Deco period around the mid-1920s, when beautifully carved black onyx rings were a popular gemstone ring for men.
“Jeff Goldblum at Rough Trade” by p_a_h is licensed under CC BY 2.0
How to Style Black Onyx Rings
Men’s jewelry has experienced a massive rise in popularity in 2021, and black onyx rings are in style more than ever. Styling black onyx rings for men is pretty simple. They go with almost anything, and they’re a perfect everyday wear ring.
The Laid-Back Rockstar
One way to style black onyx rings is to go for a rock-star look. You don’t have to be a guitar wizard to wear your jewelry this way—you can follow the likes of Jeff Goldblum. Goldblum’s black onyx rings complete his style that’s a mix of edgy and subtle.
A good way to approach this style is to wear dark colors or go for an all-black clothing look. The black gemstone ring adds a dynamic look by continuing the monochrome color onto your hand. We think a black onyx wolf carving ring is a perfect fit for this look.
The second style tip for wearing black onyx rings like a pro is to combine them with gold jewelry. If you don’t want to wear multiple rings, you can achieve this look with a black onyx ring that’s set in gold or gold-plated sterling silver. You can show off your inner Jack Sparrow or Keith Richards vibe with pirate style black onyx jewelry.
The Street Savant
Another way to style black onyx rings for men is a more urban look. You can pair your black onyx ring with streetwear for a modern, fashion-forward presentation. This is a great way to wear jewelry with casual styles.
A good choice for this look is to choose a ring size to fit your pinky. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lets his black onyx pinky ring speak for itself by wearing it with a long-sleeve polo shirt, and a pair of sunglasses.
To add a personalized touch, opt for a customized initial black onyx ring that represents your name, or someone else’s, as a reminder of them.
One way to style black onyx rings in men’s fashion is to add a bit of flair to a minimalist look.
Maybe your idea of chic isn’t all-black or all that modern. If you prefer sweaters, button-up shirts, muted colors, and a nice pair of business-casual shoes, you can style a black onyx ring like a cool Ivy League history professor.
If you’re a history buff, there are few cooler gifts than a black onyx ring designed after the intaglio carvings in Ancient Greece. The Zeus Black Onyx Ring is expertly crafted to suit the Greek Gods or the Dartmouth Historian.
Or, if you’re more of a Medievalist, you might consider a black onyx ring carved with St. George and the Dragon.
Black onyx rings make great jewelry for businessmen, or for wearing on formal occasions. Legends of black onyx meaning and uses date back to ancient times. The stone was believed to have protective abilities, that it could increase cognitive function, strengthen self-discipline, and awaken creative ambitions.
These rings are a great choice in men’s jewelry to wear with a suit and jacket, as displayed by Ryan Gosling’s choice of black onyx signet ring to show off an effortlessly cool yet formal look. If you want something more minimalist, you can opt for a simple black onyx ring for men in 18K gold-plated sterling silver.
The Story Told by Black Onyx Rings
Black onyx rings go way back. The mastery of gemstone carving has not been lost; the black onyx ring is a testimony to the lasting skill and eye for aesthetics in civilizations around the world. However you wear it, the black onyx ring tells a story that’s twofold—one of ancient dimensions, and the other of your individuality.
If you’re interested in historical jewelry, or men’s ring styles, check out our blog.
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