Sardonyx is made up of two kinds of chaledony, sard and onyx. Sard appears in a range from orange to brownish red. It is sometimes translucent and more often than not contains bands and spots of white. Onyx, although traditionally thought to only appear black, actually can appear in almost any color.
This combination creates a contrast that has, for thousands of years, lent itself to cameos and intaglios. Men and women of Ancient Greece and Etruria wore sardonyx necklaces and sardonyx rings with various gods carved into them. And sardonyx was used by Ancient Egyptians to create sardonyx jewelry with the image of the sacred scarab.
The tradition of using sardonyx to create cameos still exists today. However, many people today simply enjoy the striking beauty of sardonyx in its contrasts, opting to wear sardonyx earrings and sardonyx jewelry without engraving.