Snowflake obsidian is one of the most beautiful and unique stones you will ever find. Each piece is every bit as individual as each snowflake that falls from the sky. In fact, all obsidian is different because of the particular impurities that were present while it was created.
But this isn’t just any pretty stone. It has many uses, some of which may surprise you. In this article, you will learn how snowflake obsidian is formed, how this causes its unique “snowflake” markings, the metaphysical characteristics of the stone and even a bit about its more interesting historical and modern uses.
General Information About Snowflake Obsidian
As stated above, snowflake obsidian is a very useful stone, as well as beautiful. Because it is so brittle, it creates edges even sharper and smoother than a surgical scalpel when it is fractured against a harder surface. This made it very easy to form cutting tools from, even without modern equipment.
For this reason, obsidian has been used by humans to make arrowheads and cutting tools for millennia, including knives for ritual circumcisions. In fact, there is archaeological evidence of use of this stone as far back as 700,000 years. Obsidian blades are now often used to make the sharpest surgical scalpels. However, they are only approved for use on lab animals and not humans. Thus, it’s not too surprising that obsidian is said to have healing properties as well.
This is why obsidian is also a metaphysical tool. Its uses as a metaphysical tool have been documented for thousands of years as well. From ancient Mayan priests to modern Wicca, it’s a prized stone of great value and purpose. You can read more about obsidian’s metaphysical uses in the “Metaphysical Details” section below.
Properties of Snowflake Obsidian
- Alternative Names: Flowering Obsidian, Spherulitic Obsidian.
- Chemistry: SiO2, with impurities.
- Hardness: 5 on the Mohs scale.
- Color: black, with white flecks of quartz.
- Transparency: translucent.
- Lustre: vitreous.
- Specific Gravity: average of 2.6.
- Fracture: conchoidal.
- Habit: large layers between volcanic rocks or small nodules.
Obsidian is a form of natural glass that is created by volcanic eruptions. When lava erupts from a volcano and then cools very fast, it does not form crystals. The result is a very smooth and uniform texture that is very brittle and sharp when fractured.
While usually black, obsidian can also come in many other colors. But some of the most fascinating samples of obsidian are those we call snowflake obsidian. The snowflake markings on these volcanic stones are caused by spherulites. These are tiny protrusions of a quartz crystals called cristobalite.
Snowflake obsidian commonly forms underground. However, it can also form above ground in slow moving lava flows that are very rich is silica, which is the same substance that forms the sand on our beaches. It is also the substance that we make the glass of our mirrors from. This is why obsidian isn’t technically a rock. It’s actually a congealed liquid, and is therefore very soft compared to other minerals.
Metaphysical Details About Snowflake Obsidian
Because snowflake obsidian helps to cleanse negative energy, it can help to protect both you and your surroundings. It is also a very effective tool of revelation. As the deep calm of snowflake obsidian centers you, it helps to draw your thoughts and feelings forward in an ordered way so that you can rationally examine them and recover your more positive motivations.
Its ability to bring hidden emotions and forgotten secrets to the surface also makes this stone an effective tool for work with past life regression. So, this is definitely a good tool to have on hand while working on clearing one’s karmic cycle.
The Mayan Beliefs
The ancient Mayan priests recognized obsidian as a powerful tool for revealing what was hidden, so they created obsidian mirrors as an aid for seeing into the future and discovering hidden secrets. It is still used for this purpose today in modern mystical techniques.
A snowflake obsidian ball makes a powerful gazing stone for meditative purposes. In fact, a well made obsidian mirror or gazing stone can help us to see and confront those sides in ourselves that we otherwise choose not to see.
The Native American Beliefs
In Native American culture, and specifically with the Apache tribe, a legend about a deposit of small round snowflake obsidian pellets says that they were created by the wives of brave warriors who rode to their death over a cliff.
The legend says that their grief at the death of their brave warriors was so powerful that their tears turned to stone as they hit the earth. Thus, these small, round spheres of snowflake obsidian are also known as Apache Tears.
It should be noted that Apache tears can also be found in the other colors of obsidian, such as pure black, rainbow, blue, purple and amber. There is a beautiful variety of this mineralite available, and snowflake obsidian is just one of its many eye catching forms.
Where Can We Find Snowflake Obsidian Today?
Historic pieces of snowflake obsidian can be found in every region of the world, since it is easily found near the edges of rhyolitic lava flows with plentiful silica. Large deposits of obsidian can be found in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Scotland, Mexico and North America, particularly in New Mexico and Utah.
Since the deposits are found near and on the surface, it doesn’t require a great deal of mining to extract it. In fact, if you are lucky enough, you can find pieces that are already above the ground in the High Deserts of the Southwest Americas.
Snowflake obsidian and other dark obsidians are like the Kirby vacuum of spiritual and metaphysical tools. They absorb negative energy, thus protecting you and your surroundings.
Of course, when a stone or mineral absorbs negative energy, it must be released to remain effective. For this reason, your snowflake obsidian pieces should be cleansed often. One of the best ways to do this is to hold them in pure running water for a few minutes while you meditate.
What is your favorite way to purify a mineral? Do share your thoughts and tips below.