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Amazing crystals! Obsidian

Obsidian crystal is actually a volcanic glass! It is an igneous rock and it is formed by the rapid cooling of viscous lava from volcanoes. In some cases, minor crystallization does occur within the rock over time.

Obsidian has a long history in the production of weaponry, tools, artwork and jewelry. The ancient Aztec, Greek and native Americans and many other early peoples used and traded obsidian. Tools and arrowheads have been found at the sites of ancient villages on the east coast of the US. Evidence of the extensive prehistoric trade networks that originated in the volcanic landscapes of the west.

knapping is a technique used to sharpen obsidian with crude tools. Usually is is performed by striking an edge with a rock or blunt object. This causes pieces to split and fracture revealing an ultra sharp edge. In the hands of expert craftspeople, you can create an edge that is sharper than any metal razor blade or knife. In modern times, it is a preferred surgeons tool over metal scalpels, for its super clean precise cuts.

carved Obsidian raven skull
Raven skull carved from mahogany Obsidian

Obsidian crystal in folklore and pop culture

 Anyone whose watched the television show ‘Game of Thrones’ , or read any of George R.R. Martins books from the series, is familiar with ‘Dragonglass’. Obsidian is fashioned into knives and spears, and are the only weapons that are effective against a magical enemy. In this fictional world, dragons create the material by scorching the earth with thieir fiery breath, instead of volcanic activity.

You can polish to a highly reflective surface, making it ideal for mirrors and decorative objects. Obsidian scrying glasses and crystal balls were once very popular, even Nostradamus is said to have used one!

The name Obsidian comes from the name Obsius, a Roman credited with discovering a similar stone in Ethiopia.

rainbow Obsidian
Rainbow Obsidian rings

Types of Obsidian

By far, the most common color of obsidian is black. However, it can also be brown or green. And even more rare are shades of red, orange, blue or yellow. trace elements or inclusions create these color variations during formation.

Sometimes, obsidian can have an iridescent sheen. It is an optical effect of light reflections, due to microscopic inclusions of tiny gas bubbles trapped near the surface of the rock. Careful cutting and polishing can enhance this iridescent effect. Collectors call these pieces rainbow obsidian or gold sheen obsidian, depending upon each specimens particular color. 

Over time, some Obsidian can begin to crystallize. This is due to a degree of chemical instability, and the crystallization process does not always happen uniformly within a rock. Sometimes it can begin at different locations within the rock. At these locations, the process can form tiny clusters of white or gray crystals within the obsidian. People call this variety snowflake obsidian, when cut and polished.

Sometimes, within the same rock, two colors of obsidian are swirled together. The most common is the color combination of black and reddish brown obsidian together. The reddish brown color is a result of the presence of hematite or iron oxide. Usually called mahogany obsidian, it is one of the most beautiful types.

obsidian jewelry
Mahogany Obsidian hoop earrings by Stelae Jewelry

Meaning and properties of obsidian

 Some of most observed effects are:

  • Protection against negativity. Obsidian can help dissipate negative emotions and negative mindset. 
  • Can help give you the courage to dissolve old traumas and stop holding onto all that which is no longer serving you. 
  • Obsidian boosts feelings of safety and security, and can release your mind of self doubt.
  • With meditation, you can stay focused and determined on creating a better self.
  • This stone has the power to remove all kinds of stress, fatigue, and guilt from the body, which can promote natural healing.
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