Named in the 14th century after the ancient city of Sardix (the capital of Lydia, now in Turkey), which was a centre for trade in the mineral, this variety of onyx contains layers of clear red or reddish-brown carnelian alternating with layers of white chalcedony. Sardonyx is said to have been one of the stones used in the breastplate of the ancient high priest and is named as the fifth foundation stone in the wall of the New Jerusalem. It was used widely in early Egyptian days in talismanic rings, seals and cameos and is said to bring happiness in marriage. It is known as the stone of virtueù, thought to stimulate virtuous conduct throughout the many phases of one’s life. It has been used to encourage self-control, diminish hesitation and provide courage, and protect the wearer from poisonous snakes. It has been helpful in the treatment of infection and in the alleviation of pain. Sardonyx is one of the birthstones for August (with peridot), symbolising married happiness.