Regarded in the east as an especially lucky gem, and in India as a sacred one, moonstone is so named because its translucent milky white color resembles the glow of the moon. Also called selenite (after Selene, the Greek lunar goddess), moonstone is a member of the feldspar family, most commonly found in India and Ceylon. It is said to arouse the tender passions of lovers and to give them the power to read the future. When placed in orchards or fields, it was believed to produce a more abundant crop. Moonstone soothes and balances the emotions, giving mastery over internal feelings and allowing for calm expression. It is said to protect against epilepsy and insanity, to aid women during their menstrual cycles, and to place men in touch with their gentler nature. In addition to its soft beauty, moonstone continues to be valued for its ability to bring good luck to those who wear it.
A gem of contrasts, onyx is a chalcedonic quartz frequently layered in different shades of contrasting color, most commonly the polar opposites of black and white. Found in both the Old and New Worlds, onyx was used by the Classical Greeks and Romans to carve cameos and other personal jewelry, and by the tribes of ancient Mexico to make masks and sacred ritual objects. The gem is mentioned in The Old Testament Book of Exodus as figuring prominently in the breastplate of the High Priest. Its lustrous, rich polished surface-- usually of deepest ebony black, rich green, or very pure white-- makes it highly desirable stone for modern jewelry. The chief virtue of onyx as an amulet is that it seems to attract and absorb negative humors from the body of the wearer, causing relief from bath physical pain and mental anxiety. Black onyx is especially thought to have unique properties, as black suggests bath the presence of all colors and the absence of light. For that reason, it serves as a buffer from pain, a defensive wall against evil and illness.