Full Guide To Onyx vs Obsidian (This is the Difference)

In order to work with our crystals effectively, we need to understand their properties. With crystals that look similar or have similar uses, such as blue topaz and sapphire it can be difficult to determine which one to work with. The answer should always be; the one that you are drawn to the most. However, if you are looking to find the difference in physical appearance as well as metaphysical properties, you’ll find your answer here.

Continue reading if you want to know more about the (physical) qualities of these stones, as well as how you can use them in your spiritual practice.

Also read: Full Guide To Aquamarine vs. Blue Topaz (This is the Difference)

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Onyx vs Obsidian – How To Tell The Difference?

In order to understand the difference between these two stones, we can look at the color, shape, pattern, clarity, and more. Below we’ll describe all these aspects in detail.

Chemical Composition

Onyx is a silicate layered chalcedony crystal. It is a form of quartz that is trigonal (hexagonal) and has parallel banding lines. This is because its layers of colors enable the required contrast between the foreground and the background.

Obsidian is unique in that it is not a mineral. Rather, it is an amorphous black volcanic glass that comes from the cooling of volcanic lava. Because of this, it does not have an exact regular geometric pattern. 


Onyx can have a single color, or it can have layers of color bands. In layered onyx, the base and upper side are white, and the color bands appear in-between. The color bands can be yellow, brown, red, or blue. For instance, sard onyx has brown-colored layers.

Solid black onyx is common though it is mostly dyed. Obsidian is commonly black. However, it has traces of hematite (black oxide) and tiny glass bubbles, which produce different colors. These color bands include red, brown, golden sheen, gray, green, or yellow.

Read Also: Full Guide To Black Agate vs. Onyx (This is the Difference)

Pattern and Clarity

Onyx is a crystal, while obsidian is a volcanic glass. They may appear similar, especially when their black variants are polished, but are different. The first and main way to differentiate them is that onyx is heavier and denser than obsidian when lifted.

Secondly, onyx has slightly dull clarity because it is a crystal. Onyx exhibits milk-like whitish or grayish whirls and spots within the gemstone. For obsidian, the whitish or grayish inclusions do not appear like a fluid.


Onyx has a hardness that reads 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale. Obsidian rates 5 on the Mohs scale, showing that it is less durable


Onyx is found in diverse parts of the world like Pakistan, Yemen, and Uruguay. Obsidian is common in Mexico, New Zealand, Canary Island, Armenia, Argentina, and the Western United States.

Read also: Full Guide To Banded Calcite vs. Onyx (This is the Difference)


To clean onyx, use a soft brush or soft dry cloth to remove the dirt. Moisten the cloth with water to collect the dirt from the stone. To remove the negative energy from the onyx, hold it under the running of water.

Obsidian is easy to clean since it is a natural glass. Just use a little soap and water to remove dirt. To remove the negative energy, place it in moonlight or dip it in brown rice.



Both of these gemstones are durable and have a lovely appearance. So, they are both used to make jewelry like ornaments, pendants, rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. 

Also read: The Complete Guide To Wearing Obsidian


Black Obsidian is connected to the water element in Feng Shui. The water element helps to give depth, fluidity, and wisdom during meditation. Moreover, the water element gives career prosperity and helps to build essential social networks since it connects to the Kan area.

Obsidian also acts as a protective shield against negative energy and intruders into your home and life. You can place it at the entrance to your home, in your bedroom, under each corner of the bed, or one stone in every corner of your home.

Onyx activates people’s root, solar plexus, and their third eye chakras during meditation. It gives potent vibrations of protection, willpower, focus, and strength. This drives our commitment and motivation to reach new heights. 


Both obsidian and onyx have spiritual qualities. 

Onyx is regarded as a potent “warrior’s stone.” It helps remove negative thinking, fears, and ideas and builds a person’s inner strength, resistance, and persistence. It helps mental growth by ensuring that the wearer is fully focused, has memory retention, and has the willpower to commit to a particular task.

It symbolizes initiation and change in Native American and Peruvian traditions. In these cultures, onyx inspires personal growth and development that can only be achieved by facing your fears.

Black Onyx helps stimulate the connection between the feet and the first chakra. It is helpful to individuals having weak legs, excess energy, or those having trouble grounding.

Obsidian is referred to as the “psychic vacuum cleaner.” This is because of its intense and mysterious vibes that perform psychic cleansing to wearers. The gemstone is regarded as a spiritual maid service.

Its services include cleansing the mind, soul, aura, and hearts of negative energy. It does this by eliminating negative energies from oneself and the immediate environment. It detects where one is holding negativity and helps to illuminate and cleanse it from the aura.

It also offers protection from disorders like addiction, self-abuse, eating disorders, anger, fear, greed, disharmony, resentment, and anxiety. Obsidian stimulates the root chakra and is, therefore, a powerful grounding stone, 

Also read: Can Obsidian Be In The Sun? (Black, Rainbow, Snowflake and Others)

Chakra Association

Onyx and obsidian activate the root chakra at the spine’s base. This root chakra gives you the basis for life, keeps you grounded, and gives you security and stability to counter any challenges. Once your root chakra is activated, your body gets energized, grounded, and relieved of stress.

This enables you to be connected to the earth and has the power to focus on your relationships and personal goals.


An imbalanced root chakra results in a lack of belonging and balance, which leaves us feeling unmotivated and insecure. The imbalances can also present themselves in the form of resentment, anger, depression, negative perceptions, and pessimism. Eliminating these are many of the reasons you need a balanced root chakra. 

On the root chakra lies the dormant Kundalini energies (ultimate life force energies). Stimulation within this chakra will allow these energies to flow upward through the seven chakras. Awakening the Kundalini energies also leads to spiritual consciousness.

Also read: What Chakra Is Obsidian? (Black, Snowflake, Rainbow, Blue, Yellow, Green)

Zodiac Association 

Onyx is the December birthstone for those native to the zodiac signs Leo or Capricorn. It is believed to enable these people to become masters of their destinies. It offers confidence, energy when faced with mental or physical stress, and wise decision-making.

Obsidian is the November birthstone for those native to Sagittarius and Scorpio. Sagittarians are very truthful, and this might hurt other people’s feelings. Obsidian, also referred to as “Warrior of Truth,” is appropriate for people with this sign.

Scorpio individuals get too emotional and require obsidian to relieve them from negative emotional vibrations and cleanse their aura.

Element Association

Onyx and obsidian are associated with the earth and fire element. The Earth element offers stability, fertility, material potential, and rounding effect. It also symbolizes new beginnings and endings, or death and rebirth, since life comes and goes back to the ground. It also nurtures and spreads harmony and stability.

The earth element is also associated with personality traits like responsibility, long-term planning, and ambition. People of the earth element also have tendencies to be stubborn and inflexible. Stones of the element will help cultivate good traits and encourage them to step out of their routine without worry.  

The fire element is associated with blood, strength, activity, and life force. It purifies, protects, counters impurities, and repels darkness. It has masculine properties that give warmth, fun, intimacy, vulnerability, and an ability to connect with others.

Fire energies are believed to bring transformation, hence the power to create and destroy. Without control, the energies are very destructive. Fire element stones will get the motivation and drive to pursue dreams.

Numerical vibration 

Onyx’s vibrational number is 6, representing the planet Venus. This number 6 symbolizes perfection and completion, since the universe was also created in six days. It stands for love, harmony, and balance. Venus represents people who are trustworthy, dependable, romantic, and charming.

The obsidian vibrational number is 1 and 3.

Vibrational number 1 resonates with new beginnings, exploration, progress, and self-leadership. It helps people progress in life, be creative and have opportunities.

Vibrational number 3 resonates with creative imagination, spontaneity, humor, and art.

It helps people think broadly, acquire skills, love, and have fun. 

Ruling planets

Mars and Saturn rule onyx and obsidian. Mars is also referred to as the “God of War” and symbolizes energy, action, and desire in astrology. It governs people’s hunger for aggression, sexual urges, fury, and survival. A strong Mars offers youthful vibrance, influence, and courage to survive in life. Saturn is also called the Lord of Karma, and it gives people courage, discipline, challenges, career, passion, maturity, prestige/status, and so on.

Mars is the planet associated with ambition, action, energy, and desire. Its energies are prominent in our survival instincts. The positioning of the planet on our birth chart defines how we express enthusiasm, emotions, triggers, and reactions. It’s also in our ambitions and what we seek. 

Saturn, on the other hand, is the planet associated with order and restriction. The placement of the planet in the birth chart sheds light on our boundaries and self-control. It reminds us of our responsibilities and limits.

The planet is also symbolic of the figure of authority in our lives. This is because it influences rules, regulations, and discipline, which helps us navigate our day-to-day lives and better understand the world. Saturn will encourage growth and maturity because we can explore and turn our limitations into our best strengths.

Best Combinations

A combination of Onyx and Emerald helps treat disorders and attract abundance and prosperity into your life. It also promotes empathy, care, and love.

Combining a pearl with onyx works to expand its power and will surely grow. It helps to clear negative energy and offer clarity in action. 

Pyrite combined with Obsidian increases positive vibrations and protects people from negativity. It makes introverts sociable and stimulates imagination and creativity to make people succeed in their undertakings.

Pairing Obsidian with Hematite amplifies the grounding of the negative energy. They will gather negative energy from people’s aura and surroundings and transfer it to the earth. This brilliant grounding power offers balance and harmony to people. This combination is powerful enough to protect the wearer from evil vibrations.

Neat Crystal

Welcome to Neat Crystal! This is the place I write about how to use and care for your crystals, so you can get the most out of them. I have personally been using crystals for years - either to help me with manifestation, shadow work, or just to help me have a good day. I'm always researching, reading and working with my crystals & I'd love to share that knowledge with you!

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