Obsidian: Stone of Grounding

Obsidian is not a mineral, but a mixture of various minerals. Contrary to popular beliefs, the obsidian gemstone does not occur exclusively as black stones, but in bright colors as well. What is obsidian? And why is this obsidian stone widely believed to be the most effective grounding stone?

Black Obsidian Necklace
Black Obsidian Necklace
A piece of black obsidian

Obsidian Properties

The fact is, unlike other gemstones, obsidian is not a distinct mineral, but a rock composed of different minerals. A natural obsidian rock varies in chemical composition from other specimens on account that obsidian is another type of solidified lava, formed from a mixture of various minerals found beneath the earth’s crust. While other igneous rocks are dull and rough, an obsidian stone is smooth and shiny, since obsidian is by nature volcanic glass, rapidly cooled from lava, giving it a shiny texture.

An obsidian arrowhead

Obsidian History

Among the various forms of glass we may reckon Obsian glass, a substance very similar to the stone found by Obsius in Ethiopia.

— Pliny the Elder

A Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder, wrote of obsidian as having been named after Obsius, a man who discovered the stone in Ethiopia. This obsidian stone is noted for its widespread uses in history, not only in jewelry and ornaments, but for functional implements as well. Since this hard stone fractures with very sharp edges, obsidian rocks were made into blades, knives and arrowheads. Obsidian was also used in pottery. For a dark black stone, obsidian is so shiny that the stone was made into early mirrors, not excluding scrying balls used in divination. Besides decorative objects, obsidian stones likewise carved into images of gods the ancients worshipped.

Black Onyx Necklace

Obsidian Meaning

Like other black stones, obsidian is a grounding stone. A grounding stone is a stone believed to ground a soul to reality, disperse excess energy, neutralize negative energy, as well as protect the person from external clutter and stresses. An obsidian rock is probably the best known grounding stone, widely believed to be more effective than black onyx. While onyx was assigned as birthstone to Leo and Capricorn — the two most ambitious signs of the zodiac — obsidian is the birthstone of Scorpio, which is the most emotional zodiac sign, liable to be dark, gloomy and inwardly intense. Being recognized as birthstone for the darkest sign of the zodiac is a telltale indication of the obsidian’s power as a stone of grounding and protection.

Scorpio Charm Necklace: Black Obsidian Beads
A slab of mahogany obsidian
Source: Ra’ike via Wikimedia Commons
A polished snowflake obsidian
Source: Benjamint444, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
An obsidian with silver sheen
Source: Benjamint444, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Obsidian Colors

Did you think that obsidian is limited to the color black? While black is obsidian’s main color, a black obsidian rock may be cut in a way that brings out a gray side. In addition, obsidian also occurs in other colors, including brown and green. When black and brown obsidian are swirled together, the result is called mahogany obsidian. Often spots on an obsidian stone crystallize, giving birth to what is called snowflake obsidian. Even if an obsidian rock is entirely black in body, the sheen of the stone may produce different colors, as is the case in golden obsidian, silver obsidian, and rainbow obsidian. Rare varieties of obsidian come in green, blue, red, orange and yellow.

Black Obsidian Bracelet

Obsidian Jewelry

Obsidian makes attractive jewelry. Black is bold, and black obsidian is fashioned into pendants, necklaces and bracelets that give the wearer an edgy look. Since a black obsidian rock can be cut in a way that brings out a gray shade, excellent craftsmanship may also be critical in producing superb obsidian jewelry. An obsidian stone is commonly cut into beads that may be lavishly worn around necks and wrists.

A golden obsidian
Source: Siim Sepp via Wikimedia Commons

Obsidian Value

Being abundant in Nature, especially in areas around a volcano, obsidian is a less expensive gemstone, and accordingly considered a semi-precious stone. An obsidian rock, however, comes in different varieties. Mahogany and snowflake obsidian fetch higher prices compared to opaque black obsidian, while golden and rainbow obsidian are even more desirable for jewelry, and accordingly more expensive. Needless, the rare varieties of obsidian — green, blue, red, orange and yellow — are quite more valuable in price.

A rainbow obsidian
Source: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons

Do you like obsidian?

Obsidian is a bold choice of gemstone for jewelry, yet less expensive than others. Furthermore, the metaphysical properties of an obsidian rock make it a fine grounding stone. Do you like to wear obsidian jewelry? Do you like wearing black stones in general? See also 19 Types of Black Stones for Jewelry.

Published April 30, 2014

About the Author

Deomar Pandan is the author of Power Birthstone. He's on the third draft of a high-fantasy novel, Cybelym, and the first of a historical fiction, Gem Faerie. He hopes to release a nonfiction book about diamond soon. Follow him for updates. Or see his jewelry and designs.