This week we spotlight one of our most underrated gemstones. If you can imagine a highly polished piece of fine mahogany furniture that has been turned into little round beads, then that is Mahogany Obsidian! It’s sometimes referred to as Red Obsidian or incorrectly as Red Dalmatian Jasper. Like all Obsidians, it is a form of natural volcanic glass.
Mahogany Obsidian gets its reddish-brown hue from tiny inclusions of iron within its glassy structure. It can feature swirls and stripes throughout its body, which may be easier to see when held up to the light. It has a very clear mottled pattern of darker grey/black and is sometimes confused with Brecciated jasper. This is because in both cases, the dark patches are a result of the rock being exposed to Hematite during formation.
Obsidian can be found anywhere where volcanic activity has been prevalent sometime in the last 5000 years. Given the ebb and flow of tectonics, Mahogany Obsidian is a relatively common stone. Some of its most notable sources today include Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and the United States.
Obsidian is named after Obsuis, a Roman who named the stone. Obsidian has been used as a gemstone since the dawn of man, Stone Age people used Obsidian for weapons and implements. Later, Native Americans formed it into arrowheads and the Incans used it for mirrors, and masks.
In addition to its decorative use and jewellery-making, Obsidian has been used to make smooth and sharp surgical blades and arrowheads due to its lack of cleavage and acute edges when broken. Mahogany Obsidian's naturally dark, glossy brown colour makes it a popular choice in both women’s and men’s jewellery.
Mahogany Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass that's created when lava rich in feldspar and quartz is cooled too rapidly for crystals to form. It's not considered to be a true mineral because its composition is too complex, and it doesn't have a crystalline structure. It usually has either Hematite or Magnetite inclusions within, giving it that pleasing mottled appearance. Despite being hard glass, this is still soft when compared to rock-based gemstones and only has a hardness of 5.0 on the MOHs scale.
Mahogany Obsidian is considered to be a hugely protective stone that is perfect for people who feel vulnerable to psychic attacks. It’s also said to be a powerful grounding stone that gives one the strength needed to stand on one’s own convictions. Healers use this stone because they believe it to help relieve pain and improve circulation. Mahogany Obsidian is also thought to be useful for those suffering from depression or addiction. It is sometimes called "the stone of truth".