In nahuatl—the language of the Aztecs—obsidian was know as itztli, which meant “divine stone”. It has been considered the world over as an incredibly valuable stone, not just because of its beauty but also because of its usefulness as a tool, a weapon, and as with obsidian eggs, a healing stone. Obsidian has also famously been used in an esoteric sense through scrying and divination.
Obsidian is found all over the world and all over Mexico. The third largest known deposit on the planet is located around the Tequila mountains just outside of Guadalajara. There is also a cache located just outside the pyramids at Teotihuacan in the State of Mexico. These two sources are where our obsidian products come from.
Obsidian is not a mineral, but a mineraloid. It is more closely associated with glass, and is formed, much like glass, by the rapid cooling of viscous, silica-rich lava. The liquid hot magma cools so fast that the molecules don’t have time to arrange themselves in a crystallized structure, which is what characterizes most other stones.
This lack of crystallization allows obsidian to fracture with nearly molecule-thin edges, making the sharpest natural blades in the world. The lack of structure also allows it to take on a perfect mirror polish. And it also may be the reason why the stone is used in scrying and healing—the unique free-flowing molecular make-up giving the stone special properties.
For this, and its entrancing mirror-like beauty, obsidian was given a very high importance in all aspects of Mesoamerican culture. Its use throughout the profane and sacred worlds was ubiquitous. Large glass-like chunks became knives, arrow heads, scalpels and scrapers, body ornaments, and all forms of art. All types of people used obsidian items, from the farmer in the field to the high priest, from the cook in the kitchen to the great warrior.
Black obsidian vs. other colors
There are many colors of obsidian. As with all other stones, colors mean there are impurities in the chemical make-up of the mineral, therefore black obsidian can be considered the purest. However, the imperfections themselves can offer their own charms.
Black obsidian is said to be a grounding stone, to absorb negative energy, and help activate your instinctual root chakra. Rainbow obsidian is said to bring love and happiness to life and relationships. Gold obsidian is for joy and fulfillment. Silver obsidian is for clarity and insight.