Rock Family: Igneous Rock
Major Mineral: Volcanic Glass
Minor Minerals: Feldspar, Hematite

Color: Black, gray
Gravity: 2.35-2.6
Hardness: 5-5.5
LuminescenceNone
Texture: Vitreous
Transparency: Transparent to opaque

Where does Obsidian come from?

Obsidian is found all over the world wherever volcanic activity has occurred.  Most of the Obsidian on the market is from Mexico and the United States.

What is Obsidian?

Obsidian Placeholder
Obsidian

Obsidian is formed when lava from a volcanic explosion solidifies so quickly that there is no time for mineral crystals to grow within it. It is sometimes referred as “volcanic glass” due to its glass-like texture. Obsidian is typically jet black, however the inclusion of various minerals can create opaque colored varieties such Mahogany Obsidian or Snowflake Obsidian. Rare forms of  Obsidian have a colorful sheen that appears when moved in the light.  This effect is usually created by small inclusions of waver vapor bubbles trapped in the glass.  These bubbles have been stretched nearly flat in a series of layers which reflect back light with a metallic glow, such as Gold Sheen Obsidian and Silver Sheen Obsidian.  Rainbow Obsidian and Red Sheen Obsidian have a similar iridescences, but the colors actually come from nanoparticles of Magnetite.  It is thought that the different colors are due to differing cooling rates of the molten lava.

How is Obsidian created?

Obsidian is formed when lava from a volcanic explosion solidifies so quickly that there is no time for mineral crystals to grow within it. It is sometimes referred as “volcanic glass” due to its glass-like texture. Obsidian is typically jet black, however the inclusion of various minerals can create opaque colored varieties such Mahogany Obsidian or Snowflake Obsidian.  Rare forms of  Obsidian have a colorful sheen that appears when moved in the light.  This effect is usually created by small inclusions of waver vapor bubbles trapped in the glass.  These bubbles have been stretched nearly flat in a series of layers which reflect back light with a metallic glow.  Examples of this include: Golden Sheen Obsidian, Red Sheen Obsidian, and Silver Sheen Obsidian.  Rainbow Obsidian has a similar iridescence, but the colors actually come from nanoparticles of Magnetite.  It is thought that the different colors are due to differing cooling rates of the molten lava.

How is Obsidian mined?

Obsidian may be found on the surface of the Earth and requires little to no mining to extract. It is much prized by indigenous cultures for crafting weapons, tools, and ornaments.

Real Obsidian vs Fake Obsidian

Obsidian is a natural stone, enhanced only by  cutting and polishing.  However, there are also manmade glasses that are occasionally sold as “Obsidian”.  Real Obsidian is almost always a black stone and a additional colors can usually only be seen in the right conditions.  By contrast, manmade “Obsidian” is usually a vivid artificial color such as lime green or magenta.