Obsidian, Apache Tear
Soothe your heart during times of grief and sorrow.
Understand and let go of baggage from the past.
Accept what is and feel safe and grounded.
Be resilient and find strength within yourself.
Let Apache Tear help you to find peace!
Mineralogy of Apache Tear Obsidian
Rock Family: Igneous Rock
Major Mineral: Volcanic Glass
Minor Minerals: Feldspar, Hematite
Color: Black, gray
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Location: While Obsidian deposits are found in many locations, the type known as Apache Tears is found only in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico – the historical territory of the Apache Tribe.
Rock Family: Obsidian 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 such as flour or sugar. Many different minerals are used to create a rock! In the case of Apache Tear Obsidian, it is an igneous rock made of volcanic glass (major mineral) and Hematite and Feldspar (minor minerals).
Formation: 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 colored varieties and sheens. Each volcanic explosion creates a distinct type of Obsidian, one such variety of Black Obsidian is Apache Tear, which may be either opaque or translucent.
Mining: Apache Tears are mined at their primary deposit in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico and can often be picked up directly off the earth.
Enhancements: All Apache Tears on the market are natural, enhanced only through tumbling, cutting, and polishing.
Synonym: Smoky Obsidian
History of Apache Tear
Apache Tear Obsidian was “discovered” relatively recently by the metaphysical community and so it was not included in any early lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers. However, various forms of Obsidian were used by many nearby indigenous cultures to make weapons, tools, and ornaments, as well as for healing and spiritual purposes. From this it can be inferred that Apache Tear Obsidian would have been similarly used.
Apache Tears are a form of Black Obsidian found only in the American Southwest, in the historical territory of the Native American Apache Tribe. The name “Apache Tears” comes from a legend that arose following a particularly heartbreaking episode in 1870. The event took place during the height of the Apache Wars (1849-1886), between the United States Army and the Apache Tribes. It was a time in which hatred proved stronger than compassion, and sorrow was the result.
In 1870, an Apache band in southern Arizona had established a secret settlement on top of a large rock pile called Big Picacho. The trail to the settlement was hidden away among the sheer mountain cliffs, and so the Apache felt themselves secure. The young men of the band occasionally perched as lookouts on the edge of Big Picacho and scanned the wide desert, but no one thought to guard the trail to the camp. Close by, an American army camp had been established to protect the white settlers from Apache attacks. The army officials had long suspected the Apaches were on Big Picacho but were unable to flush them out. However, eventually the white settlers, crazed with hatred, found the secret pathway leading to the Apache camp.
The settlers attacked at dawn from three sides, killing men, women, and children indiscriminately. Soon approximately 2/3 of the tribe had been killed or mortally wounded. The survivors realized that no mercy was to be had, and so ran West in the one direction that remained open to them. They ran towards the edge of the mountain, where sheer cliffs stretched hundreds of miles over the desert floor. Without any hesitation, they leapt off the cliffs and fell to their deaths. The entire band, numbering approximately 75 people, was completely destroyed.
According to legend,when other Apache bands heard the story they cried so bitterly that when their tears hit the earth, they formed black stones. Today, Apache Tears are considered the very best stone for processing through grief.
Healing Properties of Apache Tear Obsidian
Spiritual: Apache Tears have a more gentle energy than regular Black Obsidian. Apache Tears help us to process through negative emotions slowly, allowing the emotions to be understood and transmuted. Apache Tears also assist us in removing self-imposed limitations and finding forgiveness for ourselves as well as others. Apache Tear is attuned to the Root and Heart Chakras and linked to the astrological signs of Sagittarius and Aries. It is connected to the element of Earth and vibrate to the numbers 1 and 6.
Emotional: Apache Tears are considered the best stone to carry with you while grieving. When you are sad, hold the Apache Tear in your hand and let the grief flow through you and into the stone. This stone can hold all of the grief inside of you, no matter how deep, and offers comfort and grounding. Eventually, when your grief has been healed sufficiently, the Apache Tear will feel energetically heavier and will no longer need to be carried.
Mental: Apache Tears, like other forms of Black Obsidian, encourage us to look deeply into the cause of our distress and unhappiness. It is only by understanding the source that we can let go of our “baggage” and move forward. Apache Tears are a good stone for grounding, especially during times of great change or confusion.
Physical: Apache Tears can offer strength and stamina to the physical body. Apache Tears have been said to help detox the body and understand conscious and subconscious body image issues.
Always use wisdom when considering crystal therapies for healing.
Ethically Sourced Apache Tear Obsidian
The Miners sell to a Gem Dealer/Exporter
The Exporter sells to a Lapidary.
The Lapidary sells to a US Wholesaler/Importer.
The Importer sells directly to Moonrise Crystals.
Moonrise Crystals sells directly to you.
The Supply Chain
The Supply Chain is complicated but likely clean.
The Mine, Lapidary and Importer are all in different countries.
At least two middle-men are involved.
This Apache Tear Obsidian is from a small mine in northern Mexico.
Learn More: Ethical Mining
The Lapidary & Importer
This Apache Tear Obsidian was tumbled in China.
Lapidary factories in China are typically safe for workers.
The Obsidian was imported by a US mineral wholesaler.
The Importer is a family business run by a married couple.
The Importer pays its employees fairly.
Learn More: Ethical Lapidary
I first encountered the US wholesaler at the 2015 Franklin, North Carolina Gem and Mineral Show. They carry a wide-variety of tumbled stones, both common and rare. The tumbled Celestite and specialty Obsidian particularly caught my eye, since no other source carries them. The owners are a married couple, he takes care of their larger stones, while she is the self-proclaimed, “Tumbled Stone Queen.” The Queen knows her stock inside and out and we’ve spoken in person and by phone about the geology and origins of various minerals.
The amount of middlemen involved does give me pause. I only purchase stones from this source if I can’t find the stone elsewhere and I am confident about mining and lapidary conditions for the countries in question.
Apache Tear Obsidian Tumbled Stone
Color: Black, may be translucent. This is a 100% natural stone, so minor variations are part of their unique beauty.
Size: 1 inch, or a little bit bigger
Weight: 1 oz
Shipping: Next business day – Domestic First Class averages 3-7 days. International First Class averages 2-3 weeks.
Safe Handling of Apache Tear Obsidian
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