Obsidian meaning, properties


As black as darkness itself, obsidian is actually born in the flame. The stone accompanies mankind since time immemorial lending its generous healing, metaphysical, and decorative properties. Today, this mysterious-looking gem is a sought-after embellishment for jewelry, talisman, and a popular remedy in lithotherapy practices.

Obsidian beads for bracelet

Obsidian beads for bracelet

The Meaning and History of Obsidian

There are two theories about the stone’s name. Some scholars believe that the word Obsidian comes from the Greek ‘obis’ that means a spectacle (it’s because small mirrors were made of this mineral). Others claim that Obsidium was the name of a Roman legionnaire who miraculously remained safe and sound in a terrible battle. He felt that he owed his survival to the marvelous stone. After that, Obsidium brought the mineral to Rome.

For the first time, the stone was mentioned in the records of the ancient Greek scientist Theofast, who lived in the III-IV centuries BC. At the same time, numerous archaeological excavations show that the stone was known in the Neolithic and Paleolithic eras, that is, 15,000 years ago.

Tools made of volcanic glass, as this is how this igneous rock is alternatively called, were found at the sites of ancient settlements. The stone lent itself to tool crafting because it has very sharp chips. Mayans, for example, made spears, daggers, and various decorations of obsidian.

Ancient people put forward their versions explaining the emergence of the black volcanic glass. The nations of the Caucasus believed that the black stone was born in the underworld. Allegedly, enraged Satan spewed out streams of fiery lava onto the Earth. After cooling down, it turned into gemstones. Indian tribes called obsidian the tears of the Apaches. Native Indian warriors, who did not want to become the servants of the colonists, bravely rushed into the mouth of the volcano. Heartbroken wives mourned the loss bitterly. Their petrified tears became black stones. The black color of the gem symbolized death, parting, and grief.

Obsidian Meaning, Gemstone Crystal Guide

Chemical and Physical Properties of Obsidian

Obsidian is silicon oxide that stems from the rapid cooling of magma. Its reserves in the earth's crust are considered inexhaustible since the ingenious rock will form as long as volcanoes erupt. The second name of the mineral is volcanic glass. Obsidian is not a mineral since it lacks crystal lattice.

The stone has an average hardness corresponding to 5.0-6.0 on the Mohs scale and a glassy luster. It is quite brittle and can crack easily to expose its conchoidal fracture. We recommend using obsidian in such pieces of jewelry as earrings, necklaces, pendants, etc.

Obsidian contains a large amount of magnetite in its composition. It is this substance that explains the rich black color of the stone. However, contrary to popular belief, obsidian provides more colors than black. It can be brown, silver, green, blue (Californian), golden (Caucasian), and purple.

When it comes to obsidian patterns, the most valuable varieties are:

Snowflake obsidian

Snowflake obsidian has a deep black color and small whitish inclusions of cristobalite. These inclusions resemble tiny snowflakes.

Snowflake obsidian properties

Rainbow obsidian

Rainbow obsidian strikes with a variety of shades. In nature, you can find gems with reddish, greenish, and blue base tints. In addition, they display iridescence courtesy of magnetite nanoparticles. The cut of these stones is multi-colored, resembling a gasoline spill.

Rainbow Obsidian meaning

Mahogany obsidian

Mahogany obsidian has brown-reddish blotches due to iron admixtures. They ripple through the black background.

Mahogany obsidian properties

Golden obsidian

Golden obsidian displays shimmering inclusions clearly distinguished on the black background. If these inclusions are arranged as a thin streak, this effect is called the cat’s eye.

Golden obsidian meaning

Peanut obsidian

Peanut obsidian (which is actually perlite, a close relative of obsidian) is known since the mid-20th century. It features patches of feldspar colored brown by hematite. Their shape and color resemble peanuts indeed.

Healing Properties of Obsidian

The rock, which healing power is known to more than one generation, is widely used in folk medicine and lithotherapy. Blue and black stones possess strong antioxidant and cleansing properties. You can use them to remove toxins, waste products of microorganisms, and free radicals at the cellular level. This property makes it possible to cure various ailments. In the treatment of gout, for instance, the stone helps remove excess salts that accumulate in the joints.

Energetically, obsidian is associated with the adrenal gland, kidneys, and reproductive system. Along with that, the stone is credited with the ability to heal the gastrointestinal tract, improve digestion, calm the nervous system, and normalize blood pressure. It also helps normalize blood pressure in hypo- and hypertensive individuals.

Firework obsidian properties

Magical Properties of Obsidian

They say that obsidian makes one’s dreams come true. If you have a goal and you want to accomplish it, obsidian will come to the rescue. The mineral will nudge you to take action, show you the right path, and guide you every step of the way.

If a person does not want to change anything in their life, then wearing a volcanic talisman is perhaps not the best idea. It’s because the stone will try to change the life of its owner by attracting new people and events.

The stone is beneficial to researchers, experimenters, scientists, etc. because it allows maintaining a focus on the important things and overcoming obstacles. Obsidian willingly helps people who are active, energetic, purposeful, and persistent.

Like all black minerals, obsidian carries great magical powers. It is used in meditative practices to establish contacts with other worlds. Mediums rely on the volcanic stone to see the future.

Apart from that, obsidian is a guardian against hostile energies, malevolent gazes, and all the harmful things. Evil thoughts and words bounce off the polished surface of the gem and return to the one who sent them.

obsidian makes one’s dreams come true

Obsidian for sale from KenKenGems

Obsidian deserved to be praised and admired. KenKenGems delivers obsidians for everybody - whether you enjoy snowflake, golden sheen, mahogany’s wings, or dramatic black gems, you will find so many options in our catalog. We always focus on excellent quality, affordable prices, and a wide choice of sizes, cuts, and consumption forms (beads, individual stones, 3-piece sets, and others).

Obsidian for sale

Obsidian collection from Kenkengems