Golden Sheen Obsidian Meaning and Properties

Golden Sheen Obsidian History

Obsidian gets its English name from a mistranslation of Natural History by Pliny the Elder (the guy who died at Pompeii):

"Among the various kinds of glass, we may also reckon Obsian glass, a substance very similar to the stone which Obsius [mistranslated as Obsidius] discovered in Æthiopia. This stone is of a very dark color, and sometimes transparent ... Many persons use it for jewelery, and I myself have seen solid statues in this material of the late Emperor Augustus .... Xenocrates says that Obsian stone is found in India also, and in Samnium in Italy; and that it is a natural product of Spain, upon the coasts which border on the Ocean."

Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed in swiftly cooling lava that has a high silica content. It is not considered a true mineral, as it does not have an entirely consistent chemical content and it does not form crystals.

Color in obsidian varies, depending on impurities in the parent lava formation. Golden sheen obsidian is formed when patterns of gas bubbles are aligned along layers created by the flowing lava before it solidified.

The chemical make-up of obsidian also varies among volcanic sources--sometimes even different eruptions of the same volcano have different chemical types. This makes obsidian tools or weapons a valuable resource to archaeologists for tracking trade routes or dating graves and settlements, as their source volcano and eruption can be determined through analysis.

Golden Sheen Obsidian Metaphysical Properties

Golden sheen obsidian is believed, by crystal practitioners, to be particularly suitable for scrying. It is also thought to be ideal for balancing energy fields and releasing the ego. The reflective nature of obsidian makes it one of the first stones used in self-reflective meditation, internal growth and self-understanding. The stone is not thought to give energy, but to help seekers discover where healing needs to happen.

Golden sheen obsidian is affiliated with the root chakra, though it is said to have applications to the solar plexus and third eye chakras. It is assigned to the western astrological sign Sagittarius.

Golden Sheen Obsidian Geological Properties

Obsidian has a conchoidal fracture pattern due to its rapid cooling, making it easy to split and flake into pieces with curved surfaces that have very sharp edges. Newly split pieces of obsidian have an extremely high luster. Obsidian is considered an extrusive rock because it usually forms above the earth's surface as a result of coming into contact with cold air or water.

Obsidian cleaves easily, flaking off into ultra-sharp fragments of glass. As such, it was used for millennia for cutting, slicing and scraping. In Eurasia, earliest use dates back to the Neolithic age in the Levant; in the Americas, obsidian was extensively used for sophisticated surgical tools as well as weaponry up until first contact with the Spanish. Even today, it is used in surgical scalpels more narrow and precise than the finest surgical steel.

Significant deposits of obsidian are found in volcanic areas across the world, including Central and South America, and in North America west of the Mississippi River (as well as in Alaska and Hawaii). Yes, there's obsidian right here in Oregon.

Mineral Information Volcanic, amorphous, siliceous glass
Chemical Composition SiO2 (approximately 70%) with a range of other trace elements (usually MgO and Fe3O4)
Color Black, dark brown or dark grey with iridescent golden shimmer
Hardness 5 to 5-1/2 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.3 - 2.6
Refractive Index 1.48 - 1.51

Proper Care of Golden Sheen Obsidian

A mid-range stone in terms of overall hardness, golden sheen obsidian cleaves easily. Therefore, avoid using ultrasonic or steam cleaners with it. Use warm soapy water and a soft cotton cloth to wipe down golden sheen obsidian, and remove any traces of body oils or perspiration. Store separately in a box or padded bag to prevent damage.

To learn more about golden sheen obsidian and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Golden Sheen Obsidian

Black and gold are a timeless pairing--and golden sheen obsidian proves their elegance, too. The golden shimmer over black means this obsidian variant pairs beautifully with a range of yellow or golden gemstone beads, as well as golden findings and settings.

A subtle stone, golden sheen obsidian can be overwhelmed by bold color combinations. While available in a range of sizes, large cabochons and flat beads showcase its beauty best. This subtle color combination makes golden sheen obsidian a great seller in men's and unisex designs, while remaining popular in women's styles.

As obsidians can cleave easily into flakes of ultra-sharp glass, this stone is not recommended for anklets, rings, bracelets or other jewelry uses which are likely to take impact. Remove obsidian jewelry before engaging in physical activity.

View design inspirations featuring golden sheen obsidian in the Gallery of Designs

Shop for Golden Sheen Obsidian Items

Additional Resources ...

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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