Published October 2023  •  Read Time: 8 minutes
Libyan Desert Glass is a rare tektite found in the Sahara Desert, on the border between Libya and Egypt.  While it is always yellow, this gem is has a slight hint of green when found in Egypt, and is a purer yellow when found in Libya.  Tekites are a type of natural glass that is created when a meteorite strikes the earth.  The sudden heat and pressure of the strike, instantly melts the impact zone and sends molten silica clouds into the air.  As the silica re-hardens, it falls back to the earth as Tektites.  Libyan Desert Glass was prized in Ancient Egypt and is associated with solar gods and goddesses.  It is an incredible stone for self-actualization and healing.

Libyan Desert Glass moldavite

Libyan Desert Glass Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Libyan Desert Glass is a powerful talisman for connecting with the Sun and solar gods and goddesses, particularly the many Egyptian solar deities.  While many cultures associate the Sun with masculine attributes, and the moon with feminine energy, this is not always the case.  The Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine are both capable of bright warmth that allows us to see clearly, to grow strong, and to become our most empowered Highest Self.  Libyan Desert Glass encourages us to realize our full potential and to thrive in the life we are given and the life we create for ourselves.  It helps us to trust our “gut instincts” and to have the patient courage to go after our dreams, especially the big scary dreams that take years to achieve.  Libyan Desert Glass encourages growth as well as completion.  It reminds us that we can be healING while simultaneously being healED, because the journey of healing and self-actualization is a beautiful spiral rather than a linear line.  Libyan Desert Glass inspires us to be the person we were always meant to be and to shine bright, so that we bless the world with our Light.

Metaphysical Properties Libyan Desert Glass
Chakra Sacral and Solar Plexus
Element Fire and Storm
Numerology 9
Zodiac Aries and Cancer

Emotional Healing Properties

Libyan Desert Glass has a happy, curious, and playful energy that is a delight to be around.  It encourages shy people to feel more comfortable in social situations.  It encourages friendship and is excellent for team-building.  It also inspires generosity and philanthropy, helping us to recognize our own abundance and privilege and to want to share our good fortune with others.  Libyan Desert Glass is also great for the serious work of boundaries.  It reminds us that our boundaries are our own business, they aren’t something we dictate to others and hope they’ll respect.  A boundary is a fence on our own property, it is something we build and maintain for ourselves.  If we allow other people to trespass upon us, we need to strengthen our boundaries and perhaps reconsider our relationships.  If we fear losing people if we have boundaries, Libyan Desert Glass teases us right out of that nonsense.  It reminds us that life is too precious to spend it with people who make us miserable or fill us with doubt.  It teaches that self-love and self-respect is just as important as any love we feel for others.  Libyan Desert Glass invites us to shine brightly and to not apologize for who we are and what we need or want out of life.

Mental Healing Properties

Libyan Desert Glass encourages curiosity and can be used to explore any subject under the sun!  It encourages us to follow our curiosity and to pay attention to what interests and excites us.  Libyan Desert Glass invites us to love what we love, regardless of what anyone else might think.  If we have painful memories, Libyan Desert Glass helps us to be curious about the pain, rather than dwell in the pain.  It asks us to explore why the memories still hurt and to find the internal injury that needs to be healed or processed, so that we can finally put the memory in the past where it belongs.  Libyan Desert Glass also helps us to keep pleasant memories vibrant and bright so that we can draw upon them for strength and joy as needed.

Physical Healing Properties

Libyan Desert Glass is recommended when we feel sick to our stomach.  This can be due to stress and anxiety, or to a purely physical problem.  If it is emotional, Libyan Desert Glass helps us to take control of our brain and our gut and to start making some changes to improve our lives.  If it is a physical problem, this gem helps us to take charge of our diet and our health in general.  It reminds us that while life may come with a certain amount of pain and suffering, we don’t need to prolong the problem.  Libyan Desert Glass acts as a warm and fierce friend, pushing us to do what we need to do so we can heal and be better.  Libyan Desert Glass is a great talisman for the stomach and digestive problems.  It is also good for anyone struggling with addiction who needs some extra strength and force of will.

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Libyan Desert Glass Mineralogy

Where does Libyan Desert Glass come from?

Libyan Desert Glass is a very special type of Tektite found in the Sahara Desert.  Due to the shifting sands, the crater site is not visible, but based on the scatter field, it was near the border of Libya and Egypt, and these golden Tektites can be found in both countries.

Mining and Treatments

Fragments of Libyan Desert Glass are scattered across the Great Sand Sea in eastern Libya and western Egypt.  As the sands shift, new pieces are revealed and old pieces may be lost.  Much of the Libyan Desert Glass on the market seems to be sold under the table to dealers in Morocco.

All of the Libyan Desert Glass on the market appears to be natural and is enhanced only by a light tumbling.

This yellow Tektite is almost pure silica and would be very relatively easy to fake.  However, the natural supply is large enough to meet the current demand and so there’s no financial incentive to do so.   Real Tektites have unique markers that can be tested to reveal the mineral content and the age of the glass.  In this case, the yellow Tektites have inclusions of Cristobalite and Zircon and date back 29 million years.

Libyan Desert Glass Placeholder
Libyan Desert Glass

Mineral Family

Libyan Desert Glass is not a mineral, but rather a rock. An easy way to understand the difference is that rocks are like cookies and minerals are ingredients like flour or sugar. Many different minerals are used to create a rock! Libyan Desert Glass is a distinct variety of yellow Tektite, an igneous stone which can be considered a natural “glass.”

Libyan Desert Glass’s energy works well with its family – other natural glass minerals.  Try it in combination with Moldavite, Obsidian, and Tektite

Libyan Desert Glass Formation and Crystal Associates

Libyan Desert Glass is a Tektite, a type of natural glass created by the force of a meteorite striking the earth. When a meteorite hits, it slams into the earth with such force that it creates an impact crater and tosses terrestrial stones high into the air. The enormous heat and pressure caused by the impact causes these terrestrial rocks to melt and be thrown far up into the atmosphere. Upon re-entry, they quickly cool and rain down on the earth as Tektites. After an especially large meteorite strike, Tektites can fall thousands of miles away from the impact creator. In the case of Libyan Desert Glass, the stones were created after a giant meteorite fell 29 million years ago in the Great Sand Sea, an area covered in sand dunes.  Because the sand constantly shifts and moves, the crater has long since disappeared.

Libyan Desert Glass’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Petrified Wood

Mineralogy Libyan Desert Glass
Rock Type Igneous Rock
Major Minerals Volcanic Glass
Minor Minerals
Color Yellow
Texture Course-grained
Transparency Transparent to opaque

History of Libyan Desert Glass

Libyan Desert Glass, also known as Great Sand Sea Glass, is a relatively “new” healing stone whose healing properties have only recently been explored. It isn’t included in any ancient or medieval lapidary, books describing healing stones and their power.  The gem was prized by ancient Egyptians, but was likely found at random rather than deliberately mined.

Libyan Desert Glass is a type of Tektite, a natural glass created by a meteorite strike. Tektites are formed when terrestrial rocks are thrown up into the air after a meteorite strikes the Earth. The force and heat of the meteorite impact is such that it briefly liquidizes everything it touches. The terrestrial material soon returns to a solid shape and becomes a type of natural glass, similar to Obsidian. Despite the fact that meteorites strike the earth fairly regularly, Tektites are only formed during very special, and seldom met, conditions.

There are only five known sources for Tektites, two of which are in Africa.  In western Africa, there are black Tektites known as “Ivorites” because they are found on the Ivory Coast.  These Tektites were formed 1 million years ago and are associated with an impact crater in Ghana which is now Lake Bosumtwi.  The lake is sacred to the local Asante peoples who believe that the souls of the dead go there to bid farewell to the fertility goddess Asase Ya.  It is considered taboo for iron or metal to touch the lake, and only wooden boats were traditionally allowed upon it.  Ivorites are the rarest of all Tektites and have the smallest strewn field.

In north-eastern Africa the strewn field of Libyan Desert Glass can be found scattered across the Great Sand Sea.  This is a classic sand dune desert that shifts and moves with the wind.  The impact occurred 29 million years ago, but no one is quite sure where it happened. If the meteorite hit the desert itself, the sands have long since covered it up.  It has been theorized that Lake Iro located south of the desert in Chad may be the impact crater, due to the lake’s almost perfectly circular shape, but it hasn’t been confirmed. The Great Sand Sea stretches 28,000 square miles (72,000 kilometers) along the border of Libya and Egypt.  The Tektites found in Libya tend to be a brighter yellow, while those found in Egypt sometimes have a faint greenish-tint.

Ancient Egyptians were aware of Libyan Desert Glass and treated it much like other precious gems.  King Tutankhamun (1341-1323 BCE) was buried with a large pectoral, or breast plate, which had a golden-green Libyan Desert Glass carved into a winged scarab at its center.  Tutankhamun was a relatively unremarkable pharaoh, but his tomb is the only royal grave that survived intact until the 20th century.  Uncovered in 1922, the tomb is largely considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.  There were 5,398 items cataloged from the tomb, including jewels and weapons, furniture and clothes, as well as food and wine.  These objects have been critical in helping archaeologists and historians understand life in ancient Egypt.

This breast plate was found in a treasure chest, rather than on the body of the Pharaoh.  It is made of gold and silver and is decorated with Carnelian, Lapis Lazuli, and Malachite.  The center stone was originally thought to be a Chalcedony.  Ten years after the tomb was opened, it was suggested that the golden gem might actually be a piece of the natural glass occasionally found in the Great Sand Sea.  This identification was confirmed in 1988 by Vincenzo de Michele, an Italian mineralogist who was allowed to analyze the optical properties of the Pharaoh’s mysterious golden scarab.  In ancient Egyptian lore, scarabs are a very powerful symbol, representing immortality and resurrection.  They were associated with the god Khepri who represents the morning sun and the renewal of life, whose name literally means, “to change” or “to happen.”

Additional References:

  1. Bressan, David. “Gemstone found in King Tut’s tomb formed when a meteor collided with Earth” Forbes, May 19, 2019 https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2019/05/19/gemstone-found-in-king-tuts-tomb-formed-when-a-meteor-collided-with-earth/