The 5 Different Types of Obsidian

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When we talk about obsidian, the first thing that might come to your mind is the pure black stone used in jewelry. This shiny volcanic glass often appears black in color as it formed from quickly cooled lava.

But while pure obsidian, otherwise known as black obsidian, is often dark in appearance, did you know that it also comes in various colors?

Yes, there are different types of obsidian stone based on appearance. The variety in obsidian color is caused by trace elements or inclusions. The presence of these “impurities” in this material determines its appearance, which we categorized into the following:


Snowflake Obsidian

snowflake obsidian

Snowflake obsidian by James St. John

Snowflake obsidian is just like any other obsidian variant in terms of general composition. But what makes it different is the “snowflakes” you see on its surface.

Unlike black obsidian, this variant contains white or grey splotches that resemble snowflakes. These splotches are actually a type of quartz called cristobalite. When needle-shape quartz, aka spherulites, formed inside the stone, it creates snowflake patterns.

Snowflake obsidian jewelry

Snowflake obsidian used in jewelry (Via Etsy)

Snowflake obsidian meaning: As a stone of purity, snowflake obsidian cleanses and brings balance to your body, heart, mind, and spirit.


Rainbow Obsidian

rainbow obsidian

Carved rainbow obsidian by ore_reserve

Rainbow obsidian looks like your typical black stone. However, it reveals bands of rainbow colors when it is polished and exposed to bright light.

But what’s with the pretty rainbow colors? These bands are caused by the inclusions of magnetite nanocrystals. Some obsidian shows a lustrous sheen when light is reflected off tiny air bubbles inside the stone. This makes them desirable for creating jewelry.

rainbow obsidian jewelry

Rainbow obsidian used in jewelry (Buy here)

Rainbow obsidian meaning: This variant helps you find the root cause of your emotional distress.


Mahogany Obsidian

mahogany obsidian

Mahogany obsidian by James St. John

You can easily identify mahogany obsidian with its reddish-brown patches. These mahogany patches appear on the black-colored base surface of the stone.

The reason behind this tinge is the presence of magnetite or oxidized hematite (iron) during the formation of the rock. The impurities are responsible for its mahogany look.

mahogany obsidian used in jewelry

Mahogany obsidian used in jewelry (Via Amazon)

Mahogany obsidian meaning: Wear a mahogany obsidian piece to free yourself from restrictions that hinder your personal growth.


Sheen Obsidian

gold sheen obsidian

Gold sheen obsidian by Stan Celestian

Like rainbow obsidian, this variant also reflects lustrous colors when polished and shined. But instead of rainbow colors, sheen obsidian reveals an elegant golden and silver “sheen.”

The sheen in this obsidian is caused by gas bubbles remaining from the lava flow. These bubbles formed minuscule pockets of air as the lava gets exposed to water, vaporized, and transformed into a rock.

gold sheen obsidian jewelry

Sheen obsidian used in jewelry (Via Etsy)

Sheen obsidian meaning: The reflective properties of sheen obsidian makes it ideal for scrying, which allows you to better understand yourself.


Apache Tears

apache tears

Apache tears by Stan Celestian

Apache tears are rounded pebbles of obsidian called obsidianates. They are basically your black obsidian stone but with less glassy and rougher appearance.

But why is the apache tear’s texture different from black obsidian? This is because this type was created differently. Apache tears are formed when hot lava gets thrown up into the air, quickly solidifying before it hits the ground.

apache tears jewelry

Apache tears used in jewelry (Via Etsy)

Apache tears meaning: The lighter and gentler energy in this variant is great for emotional cleansing, specifically for overcoming grief.


Obsidian for You

Snowflake, rainbow, mahogany, sheen, apache tears—the next time you look for obsidian jewelry, you now have a wide variety of colors to choose from.

Which among the different types of obsidian rock is your favorite? Find your stone of choice from our obsidian jewelry collection!

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