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Strands of Obsidian Gemstone Beads

Obsidian, also known as "volcanic glass", is a naturally occurring, extrusive igneous rock consisting mainly of silicon dioxide that is sometimes classified as a mineraloid. Obsidian forms when silica rich lava erupts from a volcano and cools too rapidly for the formation of mineral crystals to take place. Molten rock with the same chemical composition as obsidian also forms aphanitic (fine grained) rhyolites and phaneritic (coarse grained) granites under conditions providing the more extended cooling periods required for crystal growth in igneous rocks. Obsidian is usually dark in appearance with various impurities contributing to characteristic reddish-brown to dark green to jet black colorations. Some varieties of obsidian contain included microscopic gas bubbles aligned along flow layers or included microscopic feldspar crystals which impart various "sheen" effects in these materials.

While outcrops tend to be small, obsidian is widespread in occurrence and can be found in locations where volcanic eruptions have occurred. It typically occurs as small plugs, as a thin coating on rhyolite flows, or as a lining on rhyolite sills and dykes. Large flows of obsidian are more rare but not unknown, with flows several hundred meters thick occurring at Glass Buttes in Oregon and Valles Caldera in New Mexico. Obsidian is rarely older than 20 million years, because it devitrifies over time. This process can cause obsidian to alter to perlite as water is gradually absorbed along cracks formed when obsidian contracts as it solidifies. As the alteration process continues, diminishing nodules of obsidian become engulfed in growing masses of perlite. Eventually the perlite becomes exposed and decayed by weathering, leaving behind the eroded, more resistant nodules of obsidian known as "Apache Tears".

Obsidian has a long history of human use and trade. Due to its high reflectivity, ancient Greeks and Aztecs employed obsidian for mirrors. Because of obsidian's amorphous, glass-like structure, it shatters into sharp, conchoidal fragments. Ancient Egyptians, Aztec, Mayan and Native American cultures all prized obsidian and fashioned it into knives, arrowheads and other tools as well as decorative and ornamental objects. To this day, obsidian is preferred over steel in some modern surgical instruments because of its ability to form extremely sharp, almost molecularly thin cutting edges. Obsidian was widely traded along ancient routes and archeologists are able to determine the source, trade routes and age of obsidian artifacts by analyzing the unique properties and extent of hydration of the obsidian from which they were fashioned.

Obsidian remains a semiprecious gemstone in modern times. Obsidian is most commonly presented in jewelry as cabochons, beads and carvings. While obsidian is a moderately hard material, being slightly harder and more scratch resistant than ordinary glass, like glass it is brittle and subject to chipping from impacts. Obsidian is most suitable for earrings and necklace stones not subjected to the wear and abuse inevitably suffered in rings and bracelets. Obsidian should stored apart from other gems which may scratch it. Clean obsidian stones using warm water, mild soap and a cloth or soft brush. Do not use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner and keep obsidian out of contact with heat, acids, ammonia and other chemical or abrasive cleaners.


BeadStrand41 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 8mm Round - $3.65 RESERVED
Limited Stock: 0 Strands Available
BeadStrand41 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 8mm Round Approximate Size: 8mm diameter. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 8 inches long and each strand contains approximately 25 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 16.5 grams.

These obsidian rounds feature black color in an affordable and natural stone, unlike a great deal of the man-made and dyed materials misrepresented in today's markets as black "onyx".


BeadStrand42 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 6mm Round - $3.65
    
Limited Stock: 5 Strands Available
BeadStrand42 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 6mm Round Approximate Size: 6mm diameter. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 8 inches long and each strand contains approximately 33 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 10 grams.

These obsidian rounds feature black color in an affordable and natural stone, unlike a great deal of the man-made and dyed materials misrepresented in today's markets as black "onyx".


BeadStrand43 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 8mm Rondelle - $3.65
    
Limited Stock: 26 Strands Available
BeadStrand43 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 8mm Rondelle Approximate Size: 8mm diameter x 5mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 8 inches long and each strand contains approximately 39 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 19 grams.

These obsidian rondelles feature black color in an affordable and natural stone, unlike a great deal of the man-made and dyed materials misrepresented in today's markets as black "onyx".


BeadStrand44 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 8mm Cushion - $3.65
    
Limited Stock: 6 Strands Available
BeadStrand44 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 8mm Cushion Approximate Size: 8mm long x 8mm wide x 8mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 8 inches long and each strand contains approximately 25 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 23 grams.

These obsidian cushions feature black color in an affordable and natural stone, unlike a great deal of the man-made and dyed materials misrepresented in today's markets as black "onyx".


BeadStrand45 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 10mm Square - $3.65
    
Limited Stock: 9 Strands Available
BeadStrand45 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 10mm Square Approximate Size: 10mm long x 10mm wide x 4.5mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 8 inches long and each strand contains approximately 16 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 13 grams.

These obsidian squares feature black color in an affordable and natural stone, unlike a great deal of the man-made and dyed materials misrepresented in today's markets as black "onyx".


BeadStrand54 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 14mm Rice - $3.65
    
Limited Stock: 9 Strands Available
BeadStrand54 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 14mm Rice Approximate Size: 14mm long x 7mm diameter. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 8 inches long and each strand contains approximately 14 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 12 grams.

These obsidian rice shape beads feature black color in an affordable and natural stone, unlike a great deal of the man-made and dyed materials misrepresented in today's markets as black "onyx".


BeadStrand55 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 10mm Coin - $3.65
    
Limited Stock: 9 Strands Available
BeadStrand55 - Obsidian Gemstone Beads 10mm Coin Approximate Size: 10mm diameter x 5mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 8 inches long and each strand contains approximately 19 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 14 grams.

These obsidian coins feature black color in an affordable and natural stone, unlike a great deal of the man-made and dyed materials misrepresented in today's markets as black "onyx".

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