Obsidian is the name given to a silica-rich volcanic rock, glassy in appearance being either clear or opaque, whose base color range is black, dark grey to dark brown. This vitreous glass-like material can contain various mineral deposits or have a banding/layered effect due to the different rates of the cooling of the lava flow, as exhibited by Rainbow Obsidian. There is a wide range of crystals termed as being Obsidian.
There are many different varieties of Obsidian including Sheen Obsidian or Rainbow Obsidian. These types of Obsidian include very small bubbles of air that are aligned to the gemstone, giving it either a golden, green sheen or a rainbow sheen.
Obsidian can also come with small white inclusions made from cristobalite. These small white crystals look very similar to snowflakes and are called Snowflake Obsidian. Obsidian can come in rather large sizes and are great for carving figurines or statuettes out of. They can also be smoothed into small balls such as beads. They are extremely beautiful and very attractive as ornamental jewelry. If you are looking for a unique gemstone that looks great in almost any setting, check out Obsidian.
Obsidian: Meanings, Benefits and Properties
The following types of Obsidian have various colored or patterned forms and are described in greater detail under the different varieties:
- Apache Tears – dark grey/brown mainly clear and “rounded”
- Black – black is often quite opaque
- Gold Sheen – gold “sparkly” effects
- Mahogany – brown markings
- Rainbow – “rainbow” colored banding effects
- Silver Sheen – silver “sparkly” effects
- Snowflake – grey/white “snowflakes”
- Earth Star
- Base Root
- Balance and Stability
- Emotional Balance
- Protection – Negativity
Where Does Obsidian Come From?
Many archeologists who research old villages and towns that had their demise via volcanoes, usually include Obsidian deposits. However, today, Obsidian is generally found and mined in Italy, Scotland, Mexico, and many states in the USA including Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Utah. Many Native Americans have used Obsidian in the past for weapons, tools, and as ornamental or spiritual jewelry. Obsidian is usually very glossy and comes in textures similar to glass. They can break off and create excellent sharp edges, mirrors, or other types of tools.
The Uses of Obsidian
Obsidian is one of the more interesting semi-precious gemstones available. What makes Obsidian extremely beautiful is that it is essentially lava that has cooled very quickly, not allowing it to create traditional crystalline structures. Usually, Obsidian comes into contact with a very cool environment or most notably water and cools very quickly causing these beautiful semi-precious gemstones to be created.
Obsidian has been known to man since the dawn of time and there is evidence to suggest that prehistoric man used Obsidian for weapons such as blades on arrows or knives, tools, and religious symbols.
Today, Obsidian is regarded as a semi-precious stone that is made into exquisite ornamental jewelry such as rings, earrings, bracelets, charms, pendants, etc. Many Native American cultures still use Obsidian for religious ornaments and you can find Obsidian in many different sizes and shapes which can be created into statuettes or small figurines. It should be noted that Obsidian is not a hard material and only scores a 5 to 5.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
History and Origins
here is evidence that Obsidian was used during prehistoric times as weapons and tools to cut objects. When lava cools off, usually as a result of coming into contact with water, it causes many sharp shards of crystals, which can easily be broken off and used as knives, blades, mirrors, and jewelry.
During ancient times it was supposedly named by a Roman soldier name Obsius that found Obsidian in Ethiopia. Obsidian comes in many varieties most notably Sheen Obsidian, which has a golden sheen to it, Rainbow Obsidian which gives off a rainbow effect when looked at, and Snowflake Obsidian, which has white inclusions that look remarkably like white snowflakes within the Obsidian.