Obsidian (also known as Apache Tears), is a natural amorphous glass. It is in fact the best known glassy rock created from lava which cooled too quickly to crystallise. It is believed to have been first discovered in Ethiopia and was named after the Roman solider who first brought it to Europe.
Tiny air bubbles that have been formed in the layers just before the molten rock is cooled create a golden, and sometimes rainbow-like, vitreous lustre. Snowflake Obsidian, which has been so named due to the white patches (internal bubbles) of potassium Feldspar, has the appearance of snowflakes falling from a black sky. Today, it is seen as one of the main gemstones believed to enhance the sharpness of the brain and vision.
My own personal assistant Barry Wiggins was once told to carry a Snowflake Obsidian in his pocket at all times in order to cure his severe back pains. He was very sceptical about the advice, but several months later in desperation he decided to give it a go. To this day, his Snowflake Obsidian has travelled everywhere with him and his back problems are becoming a distant memory.
In ancient Mexico, Mexicans used the gemstone to make figurines of their god Trecalipoca. Around the same period, it was also used in South America to make mirrors.
Obsidian is usually black, dark green or brown, but can also be found transparent. It is normally mined in the USA, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Russia.