Posts Tagged ‘semi-precious gemstone’

Obsidian

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Obsidian is an extrusive rock, which is lava that cooled quickly without forming crystals, giving it a glassy texture. 

Pure obsidian is usually dark in appearance, though the color varies depending on the presence of other trace minerals.  Iron and magnesium typically give the obsidian a dark green to brown to black color.  A very few samples are nearly colorless.  In some stones, the inclusion of small, white, radially clustered crystals produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern called Snowflake Obsidian.  In addition to other minerals, it also can contain patterns of gas bubbles remaining from the lava flow.  These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as Golden Sheen Obsidian or a Rainbow Sheen Obsidian. Inclusions of other minerals produce other patterns and characteristics.

History and Uses

Because of the lack of crystalline structure, obsidian is hard.  Blade edges can reach almost molecular thinness, leading to its ancient use as projectile points, arrowhead, and blades, as well as its modern use in surgical scalpel blades.

Obsidian was valued in Stone Age cultures because, like flint, it could be fractured to produce sharp blades or arrowheads.  It was also polished to create early mirrors.

Native American people traded obsidian throughout the Americas. Each volcano, and in some cases, each volcanic eruption produces a distinguishable type of obsidian, making it possible for archaeologists to trace the origins of a particular artifact.  Similar tracing techniques have allowed obsidian to be identified in Greece also as coming from Melos, Nisyros, or Yiali (islands in the Aegean Sea).   Obsidian cores and blades were traded great distances inland from the coast.

Healing Properties

Obsidian is truth-enhancing.  A strongly protective stone, it forms a shield against negativity. Obsidian draws out mental stress and tension and dissolves emotional blockages.

Each variety of obsidian has additional attributes.

Snowflake Obsidian – This sophistication of black and white along with the natural beauty of the snowflake pattern is enchanting.   Like being snowed-in and shut out from the outside world’s distractions, that comfort and warmth and protection that you feel inside is the sense that Snowflake Obsidan provides.  It gives a deep, enduring sense of protection and safety.

Mahogany Obsidian – Think of a fine piece of mahogany furniture, polished so that it gleams like glass.  Mahogany Obsidian has a sense of solid protection, along with an increased sense of touch.  It connects you to the earth.

Golden Sheen Obsidian – In addition to protection and safety from negativity, Golden Sheen Obsidian is excellent for gazing and finding the root of a problem.

Obsidian can be found in locations that have experienced volcanic eruptions. It has been found in Armenia, Canada, Chile, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Argentina, and United States.

Aventurine

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Aventurine is a translucent to opaque variety of microcrystalline quartz. 
It contains small inclusions of shiny minerals that give the stones a sparkling effect known as aventurescence. Inclusions of mica will give a silverish sheen, while inclusions of hematite will give a reddish or grayish sparkle.

Aventurine ranges in color from green, peach, brown, blue, and a creamy green.   Besides its uses in jewelry, aventurine is also used for ornamental purposes like vases, bowls, and figurines.

Legends and Myths

It is interesting that the name for the stone is derived from an accident.  Sometime during the 18th century, Venetian glass workers were preparing molten glass when copper filings accidentally fell into the batch producing a glass with sparkles.  The name aventurine comes from the Italian “a ventura,” which means” by chance.”

Legends say that it is an all-purpose healer, used to reduce stress, develop confidence, imagination and improve prosperity.  One legend from ancient Tibet says that aventurine was used to improve nearsightedness and to increase the wearer’s creativity.

Healing Properties

Aventurine is used as a lucky talisman and is a popular stone for gamblers.

Although there isn’t a “d” in the word, when you see aventurine, think  “adventure.”  Think optimism.  Think bountiful.  Think practical enthusiasm.  All are ingredients for adventure.  If you long for change, then aventurine is the stone for you.  It keeps various channels open and unblocked, allowing good things to come your direction.

Aventurine is found in Brazil, India, Austria, Russia, and Tanzania.    It is a 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.  This mineral is often mistaken for amazonite or jade.

Agate

Author: admin

agateAgate is a a more translucent microcrystalline quartz that forms in concentric layers in volcanic lava rocks and other host rocks. The results are round nodule bands similar to tree trunks and may appear as eyes, scallops, or as landscapes with dendrites that look like trees.  Agate occurs in most colors including black, gray, brown, reddish, green, pink, blue, and yellow from transparent to opaque.

There are thousands of places worldwide where agate has been found.  Many of these are named for the locality, such as Botswana Agate, Montana Agate, and so forth.  Many are named because of their physical appearance, such as Moss Agate, Black Agate, Fossil Agate, and more.

Although agate is found all over the world, the most exceptional specimens come from Southern Brazil and Northern Uruguay. However, the moss agates of Colorado and Montana are equally beautiful.  Other gorgeous specimens have been found in Mexico and California.  A geode type of agate called “Thunder Egg” by Native American Indians, is found in Oregon.  Fire agates come from Mexico and Arizona.  Commercial deposits exist in China, Mexico, India, Madagascar, and the U.S. along the shores of Lake Superior.

 History and Interesting Facts

The agate is one of the oldest stones in recorded history.

The hobby of collecting bowls made of agate was popular during the Renaissance era, and this activity was responsible for the growth of the lapidary industry near Idar-Oberstein in Germany.  Although agate beds were originally found in that area, most of the local deposits were depleted in the nineteenth century and the majority of agate coming out of the shops in Idar-Oberstein today are imported from Brazil.

Many Gem and Mineral shows sponsor old-time rock hounds that bring hundreds of geodes to break open with a specially made tool that “pops” the geode open leaving the internal material undamaged.  Agate geodes can be very small (as small as a fruit seed) or very large. The largest geode ever mined was found in Brazil and weighed almost two tons.

Besides its use in jewelry, vessels, and ornamental objects, children’s marbles were once made of agate and were called “aggies” in reference to their composition.

 
Legends and Myths

Ancient civilizations believed that wearing agate would make them invisible, thus protecting them from danger.  Farmers used agates to ensure good crops. Romans wore agate to please the gods that would bring an abundant harvest. In Persia, agate was worn to confer eloquence and magicians used the crystal to divert dangerous storms. In ancient Asia, agates were used to see the future. Early Britons used the gem to prevent skin disease.  Agate talismans were worn in the Middle East to keep the blood healthy. Sucking on an agate was thought to relieve thirst. Another legend says that any person who looks upon an agate can not remain secretive and is obligated to tell the truth.

Healing Properties

This is THE stone that everyone should have for protection.  Because agate has been known and regarded around the world for centuries, its beneficial and healing properties are diverse and almost innumerable.  The properties of each agate depends to some extent on the color and composition of the agate, but all agates have certain things in common.

Agate’s most noticable properties overall are balancing yin/yang energy, courage, protection, healing, and calming.

Artists and writers have used agate to enhance creativity.

It is also known as a good luck stone.

Historically, it was placed in water for cooking or drinking to dispel sickness.

Because of the harmonizing qualities of agate, and its emotional energies of removing and releasing negative energies, it is also considered by many to be an excellent stone for helping to heal and improve enrgy in times of stress.

To see some of our agate gemstone necklaces and jewelry, click here.