The Complete List of Similarities, Differences, and Benefits Between Obsidian vs. Onyx

  1. What is Obsidian?
  2. What is Onyx? 
  3. 9 Similarities between Obsidian and Onyx
  4. 11 Differences between Onyx and Obsidian
  5. How To Tell the Difference Between Onyx and Obsidian?
  6. Final Verdict: Onyx Vs. Obsidian 

Obsidian and Onyx are two popular crystals in the world of gemstones. Obsidian is known for its dark and glassy appearance, while Onyx displays a striking banded pattern. 

What is the difference between Obsidian and Onyx? Do they have any similarities?

Obsidian is a volcanic glass formed when lava cools quickly, while Onyx is a banded Chalcedony that forms in the cavities of lava. Obsidian commonly exhibits a dark brown or black shade, and Onyx showcases a variety of colors, including black, white, and red. Both stones are known for their grounding and protective qualities, making them popular meditation and energy work choices.

Continue reading, and we will uncover all the intriguing details about these two stones, ranging from their physical features to their spiritual significance.

What is Obsidian?

Polished black obsidian crystal on white background

The name Obsidian originates from the Latin word “obsidianus,” which translates to “of Obsidius.” According to legend, Obsidius, a Roman, discovered the stone in Ethiopia. Most Obsidian is formed near volcanic areas, so they don’t have a crystallized structure. 

This stone typically has a smooth, glassy appearance with a dark color ranging from black to dark brown. It can also have a slightly translucent or opaque quality, depending on the lighting. Black Obsidian, in particular, is a popular black gemstone of this stone variety.

Obsidian is formed when lava cools rapidly, causing it to solidify into a glass-like substance. As the lava cools, it contracts and forms cracks or bubbles, creating unique patterns and textures in the stone.

This stone has a long history of use in spiritual and cultural practices. Obsidian was utilized for tools and weapons by ancient civilizations, including the Mayans and Aztecs, thanks to its sharpness and robustness. In modern times, it’s often used in crystal healing and meditation practices for its grounding and protective properties.

a graphic designed table explaining the properties of Obsidian crystal

What is Onyx? 

Onyx Polished Gemstone on a white background

Onyx is a banded variety of Chalcedony, a mineral in the Quartz family. This stone has a popular variety known as Black Onyx.

The term “onyx” comes from an ancient Greek word “onux,” which means “claw” or “fingernail.” This is likely due to the stone’s banded pattern resembling the lines on a fingernail.

This Onyx stone crystal has a smooth, polished appearance with bands of color running throughout the stone. These bands can range from white and gray to shades of brown and red.

It forms when silica-rich fluids seep into cracks and cavities in rocks, eventually hardening into a banded Chalcedony. The color and banding patterns are determined by the minerals present in the liquid.

Onyx has been valued throughout history for its beauty and perceived mystical properties. Onyx was frequently used as a protective talisman or amulet in the past, as well as to enhance one’s courage. Some believe that Black Onyx can help release negative energy and promote emotional stability.

graphic designed table explaining Onyx crystal properties

9 Similarities between Obsidian and Onyx

A person holding a raw black obsidian crystal

Obsidian and Onyx are both popular choices in the world of crystals and have been revered for their unique properties and uses for centuries. These two stones also share many commonalities, such as their volcanic origin, but we will also see a list of Onyx vs. Obsidian Benefits.

Volcanic Origin 

volcanic stone placed on a woman's palm

Both crystals are formed from volcanic activity, with Obsidian being an extrusive igneous rock and Onyx forming in the cavities of lava flows. Obsidian shapes when lava cools quickly, while the latter forms from Chalcedony and Quartz layers that develop over time.

Protective Properties

A woman is meditating at the beach

Onyx and Obsidian are for protection. These protective stones are believed to provide a shield to their wearers. Obsidian is said to protect against negative energies, whereas Onyx guards against the evil eye and other negative influences.

Root Chakra

woman having a massage on her back touching her root chakra body part

Obsidian and Onyx are commonly linked to the Root Chakra, located at the lower part of the spine. This chakra is linked to feelings of safety, stability, and protective grounding.

Healing Energy

A person is sitting behind the singing bowl with crystals and candles beside it.

Both stones are said to have healing properties. Obsidian is believed to help with emotional healing by releasing negative emotions. It is also perfect for promoting self-awareness as it provides clarity. 

Onyx, on the other hand, is thought to aid with physical healing and support strength and vitality. It also helps boost the immune system.

Spiritual Uses

Various crystals for spiritual protection

Throughout history, various cultures have used Obsidian and Onyx for spiritual and ritual purposes. Obsidian was highly valued by the Aztecs and other Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations for its reflective qualities. Onyx has been used in amulets and talismans for protection and spiritual guidance.


black onyx bracelet on stone background

These two stones have a similar hardness rating on the Mohs scale. Obsidian has a hardness range of 5 to 5.5 MOHS, and Onyx has a range of 6.5 to 7 MOHS.

Cleansing Power

stone cleansing through water

Both Obsidian and Onyx are believed to have cleansing properties. Obsidian is often used to remove negative energies from space. Onyx is thought to purify the mind and body.

Mental Clarity

woman drinking coffee and in good mental wellbeing

These stones are also associated with mental clarity and focus. Obsidian is reputed to aid in decision-making and problem-solving. Onyx is thought to enhance concentration and self-discipline.


singing bowls were used for cleansing crystals

If you are looking for a stone that can help you connect with the Earth element and promote grounding and stability, either Obsidian or Onyx are good choices. 

These two crystals also have similar seed mantras, as both stones are said to resonate with the OM sound. OM is a powerful sound that is considered to be the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and is associated with the Earth element. 

11 Differences between Onyx and Obsidian

A custom graphic for Obsidian vs Onyx

Did you know that Obsidian and Onyx are often used for protective purposes? Ancient warriors actually preferred Obsidian for making weapons, while Onyx was used for decorative purposes, such as in the construction of the famous Taj Mahal in India. Both stones have similar protective properties but differ in other aspects.

Color Variations

One of the main differences between Onyx and Obsidian is their color variation. 

  • Obsidian occurs in black, brown, green, gray, and red.
  • Onyx has a more limited color range, primarily black or white, with occasional brown and red bands.

Formation Process

The formation process of Obsidian and Onyx is quite different. 

  • Obsidian is formed when lava cools quickly, without sufficient time for crystals to form.
  • Onyx is created from the slow crystallization of Quartz in the presence of water.

Mineral Composition

Obsidian and Onyx have different mineral compositions. 

  • Obsidian is a type of volcanic glass that primarily consists of silica and has no crystalline structure.
  • Onyx is a banded form of Chalcedony made up of fine intergrowths of Quartz and Moganite.


Obsidian and Onyx differ in terms of clarity. Obsidian is typically clearer than Onyx.

  • Obsidian can be completely opaque or slightly translucent.
  • Onyx is usually semi-translucent or opaque with visible banding or parallel lines.

Surface Texture

Another significant difference between Obsidian and Onyx is their surface texture. 

  • Obsidian has a smooth, glassy texture due to its rapid cooling process.
  • Onyx has a waxy, matte texture with a banded or layered appearance that is often parallel and can be of different colors.

Ruling Planet

Obsidian and Onyx have different ruling planets. 

  • Obsidian is associated with the planet Pluto, which is known for transformation, power, and rebirth.
  • Onyx is ruled by the planet Saturn, known for discipline, wisdom, and maturity.

Zodiac Signs

  • Obsidian is connected to Scorpio and Sagittarius. Scorpios are known for their intense, passionate nature, while Sagittarians are known for their adventurous spirit. 
  • Onyx is associated with the zodiac sign of Capricorn, known for being ambitious, disciplined, and practical.

Numerical Vibration

Numerological vibration is another way to compare Obsidian and Onyx. 

  • Obsidian vibrates with the energy of the number 1, representing new beginnings, leadership, and independence.
  • Onyx vibrates with the power of the number 6, representing harmony, balance, and stability.

Rarity and Availability

Obsidian and Onyx have different levels of rarity and availability. 

  • Obsidian, a widely occurring volcanic rock, is predominantly discovered in regions with volcanic eruptions. You can find Obsidian stones in Iceland, Mexico, and some parts of the United States, particularly Oregon, California, and Arizona.
  • Onyx is relatively rare and primarily found in specific areas, including Brazil, India, Pakistan, and the United States, making it more expensive and less accessible.


Obsidian and Onyx have been associated with different myths and beliefs in various cultures. 

  • Obsidian has been linked with ancient Aztec cultures and used in their weapons and masks.
  • Onyx was revered by Ancient Greeks and Romans and believed to have protective powers.

Historical Significance

These two stunning stones also have different historical significance. 

  • Obsidian was widely used for weapons, tools, and decorative objects in ancient times.
  • Onyx jewelry and carvings were the everyday use of these crystals by Ancient Egyptians and Greeks.

Price Range

Due to their differences in rarity and availability, Obsidian and Onyx also have different price ranges. 

  • Obsidian is generally more affordable, with prices ranging from $1 to $20 per piece.
  • Onyx can be relatively expensive, depending on its color and quality with prices that may range from $10 to $50 or higher.

How To Tell the Difference Between Onyx and Obsidian?

a graphic designed image comparison of black onyx and black obsidian

For those who are new to the world of crystals, distinguishing between Onyx and Obsidian can be a relatively difficult task. An easy method to distinguish them is by observing their color and texture. Obsidian is typically dark and glassy, while Onyx comes in various colors, including black, white, and brown, with distinct bands or stripes. 

Another way to identify them is by testing their hardness. Obsidian is much harder than Onyx and can scratch glass, while Onyx is softer and cannot. 

It’s important to note that other crystals resemble Onyx and Obsidian in appearance, such as Black Tourmaline and Black Agate, so it’s best to do further research or consult with an expert if you’re unsure.

Final Verdict: Onyx Vs. Obsidian 

After exploring the properties, similarities, and differences between Onyx and Obsidian, it is clear that these stones can easily be distinguished from each other based on several factors. 

One of these factors is that Onyx has protective energy that shields the wearer from negative energies when it comes to their properties. In contrast, Obsidian has grounding properties that help to dispel negativity and promote emotional healing.

Onyx and Obsidian share some similarities, yet they are distinctly different black stones that can be easily identified based on their appearance, formation process, properties, and hardness scale rating.

Two popular varieties of these two crystals are Black Onyx and Black Obsidian. These two crystals are popular for their unique deep black color. Below is a list of traits you can use to distinguish the two.

a comparison table explaining the properties of both obsidian and onyx

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