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Onyx

onyx
The Gemma Augustea

Onyx (ON-iks) is a tricky name. People often think it's a name they can't use, but for what reason?

Raw onyx is anywhere from a golden-beige to smoky black. Polished onyx is usually shiny black and can be made into a wide variety of jewelry pieces. A banded variety of the mineral chalcedony, it's sibling is the agate stone and the only difference between them is which way their bands run. Sardonyx is the beautiful red variety of onyx, which was used by Roman warriors to represent Mars, the god of war, but you can find yellow, blue and green shades too.

While onyx is Latin, it ultimately comes from Greek word meaning "nail" or "claw." Historically it has been used since ancient times for ornamental carvings, cameos, bowls, and other works of art. It's also mentioned in the Bible.

Elsewhere, Onyx was used as the name of a planet in the novel Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, as a comic book character from the DC Universe, is the name of a pro-wrestler, and is also a strategy game.

Alanis Morissette's daughter born in 2016 is named Onyx Solace. She said she chose Onyx because the stone is commonly found in her home country of Canada, but it is also stong and does not break easily.

There were 38 girls in 2015 and 56 girls in 2016 given this name. There were also 118 boys in 2015 and 172 boys in 2016.

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Lavinia

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Lavinia (lah-VIN-ee-ah) is a Latin name possibly meaning "purity," but the name is so old that no specific meaning can be given. It could simply mean "woman from Lavinium," which was an ancient town in Rome/more ancient than Rome/Etruscan. Lavinia was known as the "Mother of Rome." In Virgil's Aeneid, Lavinia was betrothed to a man named Turnus, King of the Rutuli, but when the hero Aeneas came to town her father, King of the Latins, changed his mind and wanted Lavinia to marry Aeneas. The two men then fought for her hand, but Aeneas won. Aeneas then built the town of Lavinium for her. Shakespeare had Lavinia as a character in Titus Andronicus, but her story is an unfortunate one not worthy of repeating and not true to Virgil's Lavinia. Ursula le Guin later wrote more in depth about their relationship in her 2008 novel Lavinia. And she's been a character in many more stories, including The Hunger Games. In all l…