Apache Tear Obsidian (2)
Black Obsidian (4)
Blue Obsidian (Manmade) (1)
Mahogany Obsidian (5)
Rainbow Obsidian (4)
Sheen Obsidian (5)
Snowflake Obsidian (6)
Spiderweb Obsidian (1)
A glass-like mineraloid, largely consisting of Silicon Dioxide.
Uses and History
Obsidian has been used for various uses since antiquity, mostly for decorative usage or for cutting edges.
Pliny the Elder mentioned the material in AD 77, but there have been archaeological finds dated to around 700,000 BC!
It was used to produce sharp blades and arrowheads throughout history, and even used to create mirrors due to how readily it takes a high polish. In the Americas the Aztecs, Maya, Mixtec and Toltec people used a weapon with Obsidian blades, known as a macuahuitl.
Surgical scalpels were tested, as they can have a cutting edge significantly sharper than steel. The book series and television show ‘Game of Thrones’ featured Obsidian heavily, although it was largely referred to as dragonglass.
A relatively worldwide distribution – wherever there have been rhyolitic volcanic eruptions.
It can be found in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Turkey and the USA.
This information may vary depending on the type of Obsidian.
Apache Tear Obsidian: Small rounded nodules of black Obsidian in a Perlite matrix.
Black Obsidian: The most common type, a black natural glass with occasional inclusions and impurities.
Mahogany Obsidian: A reddy black glass with inclusions of Magnetite or Hematite causing a rich red colour.
Rainbow Obsidian: Similar to sheen Obsidian, air or gas bubbles under the surface cause a sheen with multiple colours, rather than just gold/silver.
Sheen Obsidian: A variety with a golden or silver-toned sheen caused by gas bubbles under the surface.
Snowflake Obsidian: Black Obsidian containing spherulites of Cristobalite.
Obsidian is often faked by sellers online, especially on eBay, from China. There are many coloured glasses being sold as Obsidian – see our post for more, and be vary wary of any brightly coloured or transparent ‘Obsidian’!
Shine a light directly through the piece – it will usually be partially translucent with a green or brown tone.
Photos of Apache Tear Obsidian
Photos of Black Obsidian
Photos of Obsidian Artifacts
Photos of Mahogany Obsidian
Photos of Rainbow Obsidian
Photos of Sheen Obsidian
Photos of Snowflake Obsidian
Hazards and Warnings
Obsidian is a naturally occurring glass, and as such can have extremely sharp fragments and edges when broken – to the extent that Obsidian scalpels have been tested.
Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.
When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.
- السبج زجاج بركاني
- কাচের মতো দেখতে একজাতীয় আগ্নেয়শিলা
- вулканическое стекло
Mandarin and Traditional Chinese: