Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Snowflake Obsidian

(Image of Snowflake Obsidian found on newark.osu.edu)

Snowflake Obsidian, as referenced in last week's gemstone blog post, is one of the more unusual varieties of Obsidian.  When this variety of first discovered, I'm really not sure as I couldn't find any information about such. This variety of Obsidian has a hardness of about 5 -5.5, and, just like the other varieties, is a volcanic glass.  Snowflake Obsidian is comprised of regular Black Obsidian but has the added splotches of of white Cristobalite. Sometimes Snowflake Obsidian may also be called "Flowering Obsidian" or "Spherulitic Obsidian". A beautiful stone, it is often used in jewelry. However, if you are planning on cutting Snowflake Obsidian use care as, being a glass, it can have very sharp edges, and make sure to grind it while wet as the dust can be hazardous and lead to silicosis. The only known sources of Snowflake Obsidian are: Catamarca, Argentina and Millard Co., Utah.