The Healing Properties of Crystals

Obsidian, Apache Tear

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Quick Overview


  • Pronunciation: [uh-pach-ee teers]

  • Formula: 70–75% SiO2, plus MgO, Fe3O4 

  • Stone Qualities: Grounding, Protection 

  • Hardness (Mohs): 5 - 5.5

  • Chakras: Root (1st)

  • Zodiac: Aries

  • Locality: Mexico, USA

Obsidian, Apache Tear

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“Apache tears” are common nodules of obsidian, or natural volcanic glass, found primarily in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada, where Apache Indians resided in the southwestern United States. It can be relatively difficult to find information on this rock because it is really just a nickname given to some obsidian, in reference to the tale where the Pinal Apache Indians were killed by gunfire by the military in Arizona. It is said that some chose leap from the edge of a cliff, rather than be shot. The Apache women grieved for the loss of their dead at the foot of the cliff and the Great Father embedded their tears in the black stones. Legend has it that whomever carries one of these stones need never cry again, for the Apache women wept enough in their place. While not all obsidian is considered to be apache tears, all apache tears are obsidian. Apache tears are formed when molten lava is ejected into the air and then cools and solidifies prior to hitting the ground. When found, they are usually embedded inside of a  gray-white matrix of perlite. They are smooth and black and opaque in appearance, but actually reveal a red, brown, or smoky black translucency when held up to light (representing the translucent tears of the Apache women). They exhibit an average hardness on the Moh's scale-- about 5 or 5.5. They are composed of silicon dioxide.

Metaphysically, apache tears are believed to help one to establish and maintain a deep connection with Mother Earth and encourage strength, courage and hope in the face of adversity. If forgiveness is not your strong suit, an apache tear could serve as your aid. They are said to make it easier for one to both forgive and receive forgiveness from others. Apache tears may dispel negative energy present in the environment and one's emotions and provide protection from psychic attacks and being taken advantage of. They may help to break any repetitive egocentric and negative patterns that you tend to get caught up in and create quite a radical change in behavior as these negative influences are replaced by positive attitudes. In other words, they might be considered a cleansing and healing stone. Many believe that they bring good luck, and wear or carry them during business endeavors to promote success. Being excellent meditation stones, they may also increase psychic powers and produce clear vision. Not surprisingly, they are associated with the root chakra. They are also associated with the astrological signs of aries and capricorn and the month of November.

Crystal healers assert that apache tears detoxify and fortify the physical body, calm muscle spasms, and enhance the immune system and vitamin absorption. They may also provide benefits for those suffering from clinical depression and ailments of the intestines, stomach and finger- or toenails.