Velvet Obsidian: Volcanic, Shimmering Delight

Velvet obsidian is a rare variety of obsidian, with a deep black color and a velvety sheen that shimmers with iridescent green, red, blue, violet, and orange hues when held up to light. This shimmering effect, called iridescence, is caused by tiny inclusions within the stone. The velvety sheen, however, is a result of the stone's unique surface texture, which scatters light in a way that creates a soft, velvety appearance.

Obsidian is a volcanic glass formed when lava cools rapidly, preventing crystals from forming. When lava cools very quickly, it doesn't have time to crystallize, resulting in a smooth, glassy obsidian rock.

Velvet obsidian is believed to have protective properties and is often used in metaphysical practices. It is said to help dispel negativity, reduce stress, and promote emotional well-being. Some people also believe that velvet obsidian can stimulate intuition and aid in psychic work.

The color play in velvet obsidian is light-sensitive, meaning that the stone appears mostly black unless held under bright light and turned at just the right angle. This can make it a bit of a challenge to appreciate the full beauty of the stone, but it also adds to its mystique.

Due to its limited availability and unique visual characteristics, Velvet Obsidian can be more expensive than other types of Obsidian.


Velvet obsidian
Velvet obsidian

How is Velvet Obsidian Formed

Just like obsidian, velvet obsidian forms when molten lava cools down extremely fast. This rapid cooling prevents the minerals within the lava from having enough time to crystallize, resulting in a volcanic glass instead of a crystalline rock.

The captivating velvety sheen is a result of microscopic gas bubbles trapped within the volcanic glass during its rapid cooling process. These bubbles play with light, causing it to scatter and diffract, generating the mesmerizing play of colors we observe.

Velvet obsidian Occurrence

Velvet obsidian is found primarily in one location: Guadalajara, Mexico. This city in Jalisco, Mexico is known to be the source of most velvet obsidian.

Velvet Obsidian Properties

Physical Properties

Composition: Velvet obsidian is primarily composed of silica dioxide (SiO₂), similar to other forms of obsidian, with trace amounts of other elements adding subtle variations.

Color: Deep black with a velvety sheen that shimmers with iridescent green, red, blue, violet, and orange hues when light hits the stone at different angles.

Transparency: Opaque, light cannot pass through the stone.

Luster: Vitreous (glassy) with the added dimension of a velvety sheen, creating a unique visual texture.

Hardness: On Mohs scale of mineral hardness, velvet obsidian clocks in at 5-5.5.

Fracture: It fractures conchoidally, meaning it breaks in smooth, curved surfaces resembling the inside of a seashell.

Density: Compared to most common rocks, velvet obsidian is denser, with a density ranging from 2.3 to 2.6 grams per cubic centimeter.

Tenacity: Despite its hardness, velvet obsidian is brittle. Handle with care, as it can chip or break easily.

Optical Properties

Fluorescence: Unlike some minerals that glow under ultraviolet light, velvet obsidian doesn't exhibit fluorescence.

Pleochroism: This property refers to a mineral displaying different colors when viewed from various directions. Velvet obsidian is not pleochroic, meaning it shows a consistent black color regardless of the viewing angle.

Refractive Index: This value indicates how light bends as it passes through a material. For velvet obsidian, the refractive index falls within the range of 1.49 to 1.50.

raw Velvet obsidian
Rough Velvet obsidian

Velvet obsidian benefits

It is believed to have a number of metaphysical properties, including:

Protection: Like other forms of obsidian, velvet obsidian is thought to be a powerful protective stone. It is said to shield against negativity, psychic attacks, and emotional harm.

Intuition and psychic awareness:Velvet obsidian is said to stimulate intuition and psychic awareness. It is believed to activate the root and third eye chakras, which can help you to connect with your inner wisdom and guidance.

Grounding: Velvet obsidian is also believed to be a grounding stone. It can help you to feel more connected to the earth and your physical body.

Past-life healing: Some people believe that velvet obsidian can help you to access and heal from past-life experiences.

velvet obsidian arrow
Velvet obsidian arrow

Velvet obsidian uses

Velvet obsidian, like other forms of obsidian, has several uses due to its unique properties and striking appearance:

Jewelry Making: Velvet obsidian is often used in jewelry making to create stunning and unique pieces such as earrings, pendants, rings, and bracelets. Its deep black color and smooth texture make it an attractive choice for both casual and formal jewelry designs.

Ornamental Pieces: Because of its striking appearance, velvet obsidian is also used to create ornamental pieces such as sculptures, figurines, and decorative objects. Its smooth texture and dark coloration can add an elegant touch to any space.

Metaphysical and Spiritual Practices: In metaphysical and spiritual practices, obsidian, including velvet obsidian, is believed to have protective properties and is often used for grounding, purification, and spiritual healing. It may be used in meditation, energy work, or placed in living spaces for its purported energy-clearing abilities.

Collecting and Display: Velvet obsidian is prized by collectors and enthusiasts for its beauty and rarity. Collectors may seek out unique specimens to add to their collections or display in their homes.

Lapidary Work: Lapidaries, or artisans who work with gemstones and minerals, may use velvet obsidian to create custom-cut gemstones, cabochons, beads, and other lapidary pieces. Its smooth texture and deep black color can make it an intriguing choice for lapidary projects.


Is Velvet Obsidian the same as Rainbow Obsidian?

Velvet obsidian and rainbow obsidian are both varieties of obsidian with a play of color. However, the color play in velvet obsidian is more diffuse and muted, while the color play in rainbow obsidian is more distinct and banded.

How should I care for Velvet Obsidian?

Velvet obsidian is a relatively hard stone, but it can still be scratched or broken. Here are a few tips for caring for your velvet obsidian:

  • Clean your velvet obsidian with a damp cloth.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners.
  • Store your velvet obsidian in a cool, dry place.

Read also:
Fire Obsidian: The Rarest Type of Obsidian
Mahogany Obsidian: Red Obsidian, Properties, Uses
What is Green Obsidian

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