In this article, we will get deep dive on some very first common questions on obsidian: how much is obsidian worth? is obsidian expensive? and how valuable is obsidian? is Obsidian a precious stone?
What is Obsidian?
Obsidian, or volcanic glass in some circles, is a type of igneous rock that is sold and processed as a gemstone. It is called volcanic glass because it forms when the earth releases lava, and the cooling process occurs so rapidly that microcrystalline particles don’t get to form correctly.
Other gemstones take millions of years underground to reach their complete form. Volcanic glass forms aboveground and has no such time allotted for them.
This is the main reason why obsidian doesn’t look too similar to other gemstones. Nonetheless, it is a crucial rock/gemstone, and it continues to capture the world’s attention because of its beauty and usefulness.
Obsidian samples often have a streak of white, but this igneous rock can occur in different colors depending on the chemical structure of the samples. Obsidian can form a wide range of colors from the more common black obsidian to tan obsidian. Brighter colors can occur but are even rarer than darker earth colors.
Because it has a lower porosity than other rocks, obsidian has a moderate hardness and can still be damaged easily if it is knocked or dropped from a certain height. It is softer than glass and a standard kitchen knife so that these harder materials can scratch obsidian.
The obsidian’s general durability is why many manufacturers avoid making obsidian rings and bracelets – the obsidian can quickly become chipped and damaged, and people won’t be too happy if they buy jeweler that is damaged easily.
Obsidian features a conchoidal fracture, which means there is no definite point at which the obsidian’s internal structure will break apart when consistent pressure is applied to it. This gem is also one of the driest formations around with just one percent moisture in it.
How is Obsidian Made?
Obsidian is a medium-hard igneous rock that belongs to the subgroup of volcanic rocks. It has an opaque appearance and is known by many, many names from glass agate, guardian gem, lava, glass gem, black beauty, and more.
It is available where recent volcanic activity has occurred, which is why obsidian is rarely found in areas near river systems, where it is unlike for volcanic activity to form.
Obsidian is often mined from locations such as pools where magma has cooled sufficiently to be collected manually, areas where fresh magma flows into bodies of water, sectors where dikes are formed. Some obsidian has also been found around the crater of volcanoes, where depositions occur immediately after volcanic eruptions.
Where is Obsidian Found?
Due to its origins, obsidian can be found in many regions, from Asia to Australia. In Asia, obsidian deposits are found in Russia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Armenia, and Japan. It is also mined in Africa, Kenya, and Europe in various states: Turkey, Greece, Scotland, Iceland, and Italy.
In North America, it may be found in regions where volcanic activity has occurred recently, such as Mexico, the United States, and Canada. There are also mines in Central America, such as those in New Guinea, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
How Many Obsidian Colors Are There?
As we have mentioned earlier, there are multiple color variations for this igneous rock/gem. Here are some of the more popular types:
Mahogany obsidian – This variation occurs when black obsidian and brown obsidian are combined via whorls in the rock. The resulting combination is dark brown, with deep black striations. This is the earthiest tone possible with obsidian – mahogany obsidian.
Snowflake obsidian – Obsidian is a chemically and physically unstable type of matter. Sometimes, crystallization may take place in random areas of a specimen, resulting in snowflake-like designs. The formation of greyish or whitish radial clusters in obsidian makes it a snowflake obsidian subtype.
Rainbow obsidian – The rainbow obsidian is one of the rare types of obsidian because it occurs less frequently than the others. Rainbow obsidian is characterized by a radiant metallic sheen, similar to what is observed in precious metals like silver or gold.
The leading cause of the metallic sheen is the presence of gas and other impurities near the obsidian’s surface. These impurities reflect and interact with light differently than the surrounding mass of the obsidian, and creates a bright sheen. It’s fascinating how minute debris can create such a stunning effect on igneous rock.
Gold Sheen obsidian – This is a highly prized form of obsidian because of its association with the more expensive precious metal, gold.
Gemologists have pointed to the presence of honey metal inclusions as the reason Gold Sheen obsidian shines the way it does. Again, the visual effect is merely due to specific chemical changes that are observable from the rock’s surface.
Silver Sheen obsidian – Silvery inclusions in obsidian create a similar effect to Gold Sheen obsidian, but this time with a more subdued metallic color. This does not mean that the obsidian contains any elemental silver whatsoever.
Purple Sheen obsidian – Purple Sheen obsidian usually emerges when the sample rock has additional mineralization in gas bubbles or pockets. The interaction of these purples minerals makes the obsidian look purple instead of black.
Double flow obsidian – Double flow obsidian results when two original flows of lava combine at a single point. The lucky combination creates a bicolor gem with a beautiful surface pattern.
Black obsidian – The most common obsidian of them all, and also one with the most lore. The original volcanic glass used by our ancestors for making sharp stone implements and tools.
Pumpkin obsidian – Obsidian with shades of brown are called pumpkin obsidian.
Obsidian Worth anything? Some may doubt
How much is obsidian worth? Does it of low costs?
There is no set value or market for obsidian, unlike silver and gold, where there are world markets and indices.
Obsidian is not an expensive stone.
This being the case, a piece of obsidian can cost $2 or $100 depending on the quality and processing it has undergone. Like other gemstones, excellent quality cutting and polishing will increase the value of a stone, including obsidian. Usually, the rarer the item, the more value it has, especially in auctions.