Obsidian is lustrous volcanic glass formed in the flaming core of the earth and transported to the surface in volcanic eruptions. Also called lava glass, obsidian is fairly fragile. Although the colour range and related names are varied, it is generally deep black, black with white flecks (snowflake obsidian), dark green or brown. The name derives from Obsianus Lapis (1601) meaning the stone of Obsius, its supposed discoverer. Obsidian was a valued trading material amongst North American Indian tribes who used it to make arrowheads and to deepen their insight during rituals and celebrations. Obsidian is a protective stone, calming internal and external energies and shielding one from the causes of physical and emotional harm as well as negativity. Because of its ability to bring people “down to earth”, it is a useful stone for those who become lost in daydreams. In addition to stimulating digestion, obsidian is thought to strengthen the skin, hair, nails, bones and spine. Snowflake obsidian, probably the most popular, is the black obsidian with inclusions of a white material (phenocryst) whose structure when polished resembles a snowflake. Snowflake obsidian is thought to promote sensitivity to the most vital powers in the universe – love and beauty. A “stone of purity”, it brings balance and purity to the body, mind and spirit. it can be used to smooth the skin and to clear the eyes as well as in the treatment of disorders of the veins and skeletal structure.