Obsidian was revered by ancient cultures. It was one of the major barter materials, and prized for its ability to be worked to razor-sharp edges for arrows and spears. It has been used since prehistoric times for making tools, masks, weapons, mirrors and jewelry. With its vitreous (glassy) luster, obsidian is a distinctive stone. It is formed as lava from volcanic eruptions cools within the earth. The speed at which it cools prevents crystallization and the rock forms as solid volcanic glass.
Although the most common color is black, obsidian can also be found in light brown, brown mottled with black, and black with a beautiful golden or silvery sheen. Snowflake obsidian is dotted with white patches where parts of the rock have begun to crystallize. The most prized obsidian is the rainbow obsidian variety with purple, green and gold bands.
The stone of gentle people, obsidian is powerful in meditation and is used to block negativity.
Obsidian is rated at 5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This soft stone is easily scratched and is best in applications such as a pendant or earrings. Obsidian should be worn and stored with care to avoid any permanent damage to the stone.