What Obsidian Is Actually Used For And Its Real Benefits

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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What Obsidian Is Actually Used For And Its Real Benefits

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Let’s go on an adventure in the world of obsidian! Obsidian is a unique rock that looks like shiny black glass, but it’s formed from quickly cooled lava from volcanoes.

It has been known to be very beautiful for a long time, and people have found some cool uses. They noticed its sharpness and began crafting it into tools and weapons, like knives and arrowheads.

Its glossy and smooth surface made it perfect for jewelry and other decorative pieces. From nature’s oven to handy tools and pretty trinkets, obsidian has certainly made its mark!

We’ll talk more about obsidian’s benefits in this article. We’ll look at both its old-fashioned uses and some of its cool new ones. After reading this, you’ll love obsidian and all the great things it can do even more.

Understanding Obsidian And Its Origins

A mesmerizing ultra rare obsidian stone
Obsidian photo provided by and available for purchase at EmsgemstonesOR

Obsidian is a type of volcanic glass made when lava from a volcano cools down very quickly. Lava doesn’t turn into crystals like many other rocks; it turns into smooth, shiny glass.

Because it cools so quickly, the molecules don’t have time to line up in a straight line. It’s very sharp and can have very fine edges because of this. Our guide will help you identify your rock if you’re unsure if it’s obsidian.

Obsidian is found worldwide in places where volcanoes are active or have been. Areas of the US, Mexico, Japan, and other countries are included. Obsidian is valued by many around the world.

Over the centuries, people recognized the brilliance of obsidian. Its razor-sharp edges made it a top pick for crafting tools and weapons. But its beauty wasn’t overlooked either.

Many carried themselves with obsidian jewelry, showcasing its elegance. From volcanic drama to historical craftsmanship, obsidian has played quite the starring role in the story of our planet!

The meaning of Obsidian

The name “Obsidian” comes from the Roman explorer Obsius, who is believed to have discovered this shiny, black rock in Ethiopia. Just like its name suggests, Obsidian is as sleek and mysterious as the dark glassy rock itself.

People started calling the rock “Obsidian” after him, like a way to honor his discovery. So, every time we say “obsidian,” we recall the story of that explorer and his find many years ago.

What Obsidian Is Good For And Used For

Aside from being beautiful and sharp, obsidian can be used in strange but helpful ways many might not expect. Let us find out what else this gemstone can do for us.


A dainty obsidian necklace shaped like a perfume bottle
Obsidian photo provided by BellaMiaBeadsStudio

Many people love using it in jewelry because it looks smooth and shiny. Obsidian can become shiny and stand out when carved and polished.

Because of its glassy look and the ability to be shaped into various forms, it’s a popular choice for jewelry-making. Craftsmen can carve obsidian into smooth beads for necklaces and bracelets.

They can also shape it into beautiful pendants or earrings. Since it can be polished to a high shine, the finished pieces can be really eye-catching.

Another cool thing is that obsidian can be combined with metals like silver or gold, which contrasts well with its dark color, giving the jewelry a modern and elegant look.

Decorative items

An elegant obsidian scultpure
Obsidian photo provided by KhemiaCrystals

Obsidian is often used to make decorative items because it looks smooth and glassy. This volcanic rock can be shaped in many ways, which makes it useful for decorating.

It can be used to make beautiful sculptures of people, animals, or abstract shapes. You can put these sculptures as centerpieces on desks, shelves, or tables.

Obsidian is used to make more than just sculptures. It’s also used to make bowls and plates that look nice. There is only one of each piece because each has its colors and patterns.

Some craftsmen also use thin pieces of obsidian to make decorative tiles or add a touch of elegance to wooden furniture.

It’s often used to decorate homes and offices because its shiny, reflective surface can catch the light and make it the center of attention in any room.


A polished obsidian mirror reflecting the trees and sky
Obsidian photo provided by FlmngDesign

If you polish obsidian, it has a smooth and shiny surface that distinguishes it from other volcanic glass. In the past, people found that flat pieces of polished obsidian could be used as mirrors because of this.

These mirrors weren’t as clear as the ones we use now, but they were shiny enough to see your reflection.

Craftsmen would take a flat piece of obsidian and smooth it out until it was very smooth. The surface was dark and shiny as a result. In the past, people in cultures like the Aztecs often used these mirrors to see their reflections.

Though they’re not made today, some artists and designers still use obsidian mirrors as decorations because they look old and different from modern mirrors.

Surgical scalpels

A rare sharp obsidian scalpel

Obsidian is a very interesting glass that comes from volcanoes. It can break into edges that are so sharp they’re even sharper than steel.

This is something that scientists and doctors have never seen before. They thought about using obsidian to make surgical tools, especially scalpels.

Why? Because a knife with a sharp edge cuts better. When doctors use obsidian scalpels, they can cut more precisely and with less bulk than when they use regular steel scalpels.

This might be good because cuts that aren’t as deep can heal faster and leave less noticeable scars.

Carefully cutting obsidian into thin blades and attaching them to handles is how these scalpels are made. It’s not necessary to use obsidian scalpels in every surgery, but there are times when their very sharp edge is very useful.

Tools and weapons

Three different pieces of carved obsidian knives with wooden handles
Obsidian photo provided by CrystalRockLife

A long time ago, before iron and steel were commonly used, people found that obsidian could be used to make great tools and weapons.

People used a method called “knapping” to make tools. In other words, they would hit the obsidian with another rock, cutting it into sharp pieces. After that, these pieces could be shaped into knives, scrapers, or arrowheads.

To make weapons, obsidian was often used to make spear and arrow tips that were very sharp. These weapons worked well because obsidian can be very sharp. They were strong enough to cut through animal hides and even enemy armor.

People learned how to work with metals over time, so obsidian tools and weapons became less common. However, they are still an essential part of our history.

Unproven Obsidian Benefits And Additional Uses

Although many people swear by their own experiences with obsidians, controlled scientific studies have not consistently shown the effects that obsidians have or how they might work.

It’s essential to be skeptical of claims that obsidian can heal and rely only on well-known medical treatments for health problems.

An Important Note About The Healing and Metaphysical Properties Of Obsidian

We are about to discuss some of the claimed metaphysical and healing properties of Obsidian. It is important to know that there is no scientific evidence or studies that support any of these claims in any way.

All studies and research that have been conducted on the healing and metaphysical properties of Obsidian and other crystals have shown that study participants report the same perceived benefits whether they are given real or fake Obsidian.

Any alleged success in healing or other benefits is believed to be either falsely attributed to Obsidian exposure or a result of the placebo effect. There has not been a single claim of healing or metaphysical powers that has been able to be verified.

Obsidian healing properties

A gorgeous deep black obsidian crystal tower
Obsidian photo provided by ConnectCo

Obsidian is often linked to various healing properties. Some people believe it can aid in improving circulation and easing issues like cramps or joint pain. It’s also thought to help with digestion and detoxification by some.

Additionally, there are some claims wearing or using obsidian might help reduce physical tension and stress. For skin concerns, there’s a belief that obsidian could promote clearer skin and might assist in wound healing.

However, it’s crucial to understand that these are claims by enthusiasts and alternative medicine practitioners.

While some scientific evidence shows that obsidian can heal, it’s not strong. If you have questions about your health, you should always talk to a doctor.

Obsidian metaphysical properties

A lovely obsidian point polished cut obsidian crystal
Obsidian photo provided by InfinityGemstonesUK

Obsidian is a black glass formed by volcanoes that some people think has special metaphysical properties. Some things are “metaphysical” that are not physical or things we can see or touch.

Many people believe that obsidian is a strong stone that can keep you safe. They think it can protect someone from bad energy or people who mean harm.

Some people also say it can help them connect with their intuition, which sounds like a deep voice inside them. Some think obsidian can help them see the truth and understand things better. It could also help someone let go of bad feelings or habits.

Remember, these beliefs are not scientifically proven facts but are important to many cultures and individuals.

Obsidian crystal benefits

A beautiful oval-cut polished obsidian gemstone
Obsidian photo provided by Fossilera

Many people believe that this crystal has unique benefits. They say that obsidian can act as a shield to protect against negative energy, like a superhero’s shield blocking bad stuff.

Some think it’s good for clearing away confusion and helping someone see things more clearly. There’s also a belief that obsidian can help people face their fears and let go of things bothering them from the past.

Additionally, it’s often used to help with grounding, making someone feel stable and connected to the earth. These are some people’s beliefs, and while everyone may not agree, many find comfort and purpose in using obsidian in these ways.

Even though these benefits aren’t scientifically proven, many people value having obsidian around.

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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