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Obsidian: Characteristics and Properties

Obsidian is the result of volcanic lava coming in contact with water. Often the lava pours into a lake or ocean and is cooled quickly. This process produces a glassy texture in the resulting rock. Iron and magnesium give the obsidian a dark green to black color. Obsidian can contain small bubbles of air that are aligned along layers created as the molten rock was flowing before being cooled. These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as a golden (Sheen Obsidian) or a rainbow sheen (Rainbow Obsidian). Inclusions of small, white, radially clustered crystals of cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern (Snowflake Obsidian).

Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears. Obsidian has been used by ancient people as a cutting tool, for weapons, and for ceremonial purposes and is sometimes found by archaeologists.

Often confused with smoky quartz, obsidian has similar properties to quartz because of a similar chemistry. However, many properties dependant on a crystal structure are altered or absent in obsidian because it lacks any crystal structure of its own. The piezoelectric and optical properties in quartz are thus absent in obsidian. Smoky quartz usually has a splotchy or zoned
distribution to its color while Obsidian is more uniformly distributed.


Obsidian’s Metaphysical Powers

Obsidian provides protection against negative energy. It is specially good for those who are very mediumistic or emotional.

Obsidian also helps us to “take a look in the mirror” and see ourselves for who we really are. I allows us to see what action we may need to take in a particular situation. Even though it helps us to see our own faults, it does promote a feeling of love and contentment with our physical bodies when worn around the neck. It is a good gift for a teenage daughter.


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