How to tell the Difference between Black Onyx, Jet, Apache Tear, Black Tourmaline & Black Obsidian

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, grounding, protection 52 Comments

A common question I get from my students in my Certified Crystal Healer Course is:
How to tell the difference between our many shiny black tumbled stones.
There are several common ones that all polish up pretty shiny, making it almost impossible to tell them apart; both physically & sometimes even energetically.

But there are slight differences & I’m going to tell you what to look for right here. 

I’m going to focus on the 5 most common ones:

  • Jet
  • Obsidian
  • Apache Tear
  • Onyx
  • Black Tourmaline

As most black stones usually are, all 5 of these are considered to generally be energetically grounding, protective & usually resonating well with either the Earth Star Chakra or Root Chakra

Now let’s get into the subtle differences…

Non-Mineral Stuffs
I’ve divided the stones into 2 sub-groups of “non-mineral” & “mineral”.

The non-minerals, although usually lumped in with the rest of the crystals, are not technically minerals, b/c they don’t have 1 very important aspect that all minerals must have: a crystalline atomic matrix, a repeating geometric pattern among their atoms.
Jet
Jet is not a crystal/mineral…it lacks a crystalline structure. Why? B/c it originates from a once living thing; a tree.  So it’s organic & not a mineral at all.  It’s actually considered to be coal & forms when pieces of wood from a tree get buried in sediment and get “coalified”. This is a process that took place a looooong time ago; we’re talking literal Jurassic Period here. 

[caption id="attachment_18763" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Raw Jet – By Geni (Photo by user:geni) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]Under a microscope you can actually see the old tree’s cell walls! Pretty cool.

B/c of this cell-wall kind of structure it’s very lightweight & that’s one of your clues when comparing it to their black stones. Pick it up & compare its weight in your hands. It almost feels like plastic, it’s so light.

Although it’s usually pretty dull in its raw form, it can be polished up to a high luster & be quite shiny (as you can see in my above picture where its shown compared to other black stones). Another tell-tale clue is that jet can sort of look a bit dark-silvery-metallic (sort of like a really dark hematite).

Energetically, jet is known to be safely grounding + purifying while also being protective…in a gentle, non-forceful way.
Black Obsidian
Obsidian, another non-mineral, is a volcanic glass, born literally of forceful fiery energy.

Birthed in a volcanic eruption when molten lava spews up from a volcano, obsidian flies out & then cools quickly once it touches the cooler land or much cooler water, sometimes forming teeny bubbles within…and cooling much too quickly for its atoms to arrange themselves in the necessary crystalline atomic structure to qualify as a mineral. This makes it a glass & not a crystal. 

So your clue here is that all obsidian (not just the black variety) will be very smooth, shiny & glassy-looking.

If you’re looking at a rough natural piece as in my above photo (where I’m comparing all of these black stones), you’ll notice that obsidian usually has a conchoidal fracture: a geeky-geo-term for a curved break off point when the obsidian gets chipped away.

Can you see that conchoidal fracture in the below pic?

[caption id="attachment_18764" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rough Obsidian – By Ji-Elle (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]If you’re comparing obsidian to onyx (2 that are quite often confused), obsidian will be the lighter weight of the 2 b/c it’s less dense than onyx (due to the lack of crystalline structure & interior air bubbles) and can even be translucent in spots if you hold it up to the light…something really hard to capture in a photo for me…but I tried in the below photo. See how the sunlight can shine through it & you can even see some layering on the bottom right?

Remember that obsidian is volcanic glass so it has a direct fiery energy to it. Perhaps due to how it originates, I feel it’s not gentle in its ways at all. Generally, it’s a pretty powerful stone.

CAUTION: If you feel that you’re very emotionally fragile or vulnerable, I recommend you try another stone choice instead. 

Now this may not be true for everyone, so it’s not a blanket statement.
You really need to work with it yourself to know EXACTLY how it will affect you.
Obsidian is great for quick & powerful grounding, cleansing away deep or stubborn negative feelings & when you need POWERFUL psychic protection. Again, I do caution people to only use it when you need a really powerful punch & not to work with it for too long…unless you already know that you can work with it safely with no adverse effects. 
Apache Tear
Apache Tear is really a sub-group or type of obsidian; essentially the same stone, both made of volcanic glass and black in color. However, Apache Tears are black obsidian that formed by being thrown up into the air giving them a much less glassy & more rough appearance.

[caption id="attachment_18765" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Apache Tear – By Simon Eugster –Simon 20:06, 14 April 2006 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]Whereas black obsidian is known to be a very powerful stone, Apache Tears are gentler in their energy & good for less forceful emotional cleansing like working through grief… b/c it’s much lighter & gentler in its energy it’s great for emotional clearing while also being grounding & protective.
The Inorganic Stuffs – True Minerals
These next stones are the real-deal minerals. All minerals have a crystalline structure at the atomic level where their atoms are stacked in a precise repeating geometric pattern. So these guys are more stable & can more efficiently influence your energetic field.
Onyx
When you hold a piece of onyx, one thing you’ll note is the density & “weighti-ness” of it. Between 2 similar sized pieces of onyx & obsidian…which can look very similar, the onyx will be heavier b/c it has an actual crystalline structure, whereas obsidian does not…with its random molecules & air bubbles. 

Onyx tends to have a slightly duller finish, but can polish up to be quite glassy! So don’t rely on that alone. Onyx may also have some banding & white-ish or grey-ish spots, but usually no translucency.

[caption id="attachment_18766" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Onyx – By Simon Eugster –Simon 14:41, 11 April 2006 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]Onyx, being a true mineral, does indeed have that crystalline structure at the atomic level. Why? Well, it had the time to form one, growing slowly underground, as crystals do.

Onyx’ energy for me, while protective is more about grounding & strengthening. It’s also wonderful for boosting your willpower & discipline
Black Tourmaline
Black tourmaline is a fav of mine & 1 of the crystals I use in my sacred grounding trio.

In it’s natural form (as seen below), black tourmaline is hard to confuse with the others I’ve listed here.

But when it’s tumbled it can be hard to pick out b/c it polishes up relatively well…but usually not perfectly & that’s how I usually tell it from the others. You’ll often see some divots & possibly some rust from its iron content too.

Energetically, black tourmaline is a go-to negativity neutralizer for me. B/c it has piezoelectric & pyroelectric proprieties it’s able to transduce energy quite effectively! If you’re looking for a great crystal for protection & purification that isn’t too intense…this is the one.

So there you are.

I hope you find this info to a be a helpful resource that you’ll be able to refer back to when needed!

Can you tell the difference now?  Do you have these stones in your crystal collection and now you know how to identify them on the fly? Talk to me in the Comments below! I’d love to hear about your favorite black crystal. 🙂

Crystal Blessings,

COLOR OF THE YEAR: RADIANT ORCHID ~ 2014 ~ Sugilite + Lepidolite

Hibiscus Moon Crystal Goodness, Crystal Healing, dreaming, protection 10 Comments

I love color! How about you?

So, last year I started a tradition of pairing up a crystal video to match up with Pantone’s Color of the Year. To explain sort of what that’s about this is from the Pantone website:

Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute™ has been designating a Color of the Year to express in color what is taking place in the global zeitgeist.

Pretty cool, right? You can find out more about that here.

I decided to create a NEW color collage of my own…with crystals! YOU LIKE?

In today’s featured video I go over 2 very specific stones that I felt aligned very well with “Radiant Orchid”.

COLOR OF THE YEAR: RADIANT ORCHID ~ 2014 ~ Sugilite + Lepidolite

More Crystal Info + Another that goes with the 2014 Color of the Year
Sugilite

  • A potassium sodium lithium iron manganese aluminum silicate mineral (wooooo!)
  • Mohs Hardness: 6-6.5
  • Chakra Alignments: 3rd Eye, Crown + Transpersonal
  • Assists with spiritual protection, enhances dreams, purifies the aura

Lepidolite

  • A potassium lithium aluminum silicate
  • Mohs Hardness: 2.5-3
  • Chakra Alignments: Heart, 3rd Eye & Crown
  • An emotional & mental soother & balancer, calming, assists in reducing stress, brings a calm, serene sense of well-being

Charoite

  • Very complex element content. For you Chemistry Freaks (that’s a MAJOR compliment BTW!!) here’s the formula: (K,Sr) 15-16 (Ca,Na) 32 [Si 6 O 11 (O,OH) 6 ] 2 [Si 12 O 18 (O,OH) 12 ] 2 [Si 17 O 25 (O,OH) 18 ] 2 (OH,F) 4 · ~3H 2 O  …so there’s that.
  • Mohs Hardness: 5-6
  • Chakra Alignment: 3rd Eye, Crown + Transpersonal Chakras
  • Excellent for de-toxing of inner negative energy, psychic ability stimulator, assists with being/becoming a more effective energy healer, provides protection, assists us in figuring out our life purpose & then to walk that path

Here are the links to the videos I mention in this week’s feature:

  • 2013 Color of the Year: Emerald
  • Pineal Gland Video, Part 1
  • Pineal Gland Video, Part 2

OK, so now I’d like you to please post below in the comments…what other crystals & stones do you think would also make a great vibrational match for Radiant Orchid?

Sugar Pop, thanks for watching & sharing your special brand of glitter-genius here w/ all the rest of the Crystal Hotties!

BTW, some dude on my FB page said he thought I was excluding the males from our community by referring to us all as Crystal Hotties.

Ummm, since when is a “Hotttie” gender-specific? Frank (my husbo) will take great offense to that since he is the OFFICIAL HEAD CRYSTAL HOTTIE! 😉

So, please know; male, female, transgender & all shades in between…we’re all Crystal Hotties!

OK, much love & Sparkle- Bombs!

 

Crystals for Mercury Retrograde

Hibiscus Moon astronomy, Gem Elixirs, protection, science, stress relief 7 Comments

Ahhh, Mercury Retro. Its become such a popular excuse that I began hearing it from my teenage science students (while I was still teaching science in the classroom) as an excuse for not turning homework! Whaaaa?

Seems the idea has become pretty popular.

Heck! When you’ve found it defined in the Urban Dictionary you know it’s grabbed a hold:

“A three week period in which the planet Mercury appears to be in backwards motion. During this time human beings experience many adverse effects, such as memory loss, loss of time, loss of items, loss of virginity, loss of common sense. As for technology many unexpected glitches occur during this time, such as software crashes and emails getting lost ”

OK…wait…what? “loss of virginity“? *shaking head*…moving on.

Before I get into the crystals, let’s discuss what this all means & where it comes from (except for the “loss of viriginity”…I’m not touching that 1).
First…let’s talk retrogrades
 

Oh…how I love to talk about space!! Science class in session!!

Retrograde refers to a planetary orbit around the Sun is seemingly going opposite of ours here on Earth. It’s like watching someone riding a merry-go-round from 1 fixed point. If you were just watching them from very far away (& had no idea what a merry-go-round was) it would seem like the person you were watching was traveling forward then backward then forward again.

Now, I can write about this here but really the best way to “get it” is to SEE it & since I don’t have my planetary orbit model here in hand, I’ll let StarWaders show you (works really well for visual minds):

Now Mercury isn’t the only planet to go retrograde. The other planets do it too & affect us as well. Mercury probably is the most well-known b/c it’s so close to the Sun & has the shortest orbit to travel so it ends up zipping round so quickly (hence those little wings on the depictions of the Roman God Mercury) that we end up with about 3 Mercury Retros a year, more than any other planet. No worries…we’ll get to the crystals for Mercury Retrograde soon.

Disclaimer here…I’m no astrologist. That is not my area of expertise at all but I do know the usual associations made with Mercury Retrograde; probably due to its speediness, Mercury is known as the messenger governing over communication of all sorts, which includes technology. This tiny planet is also known to influence travel, merchants, thieves & be a mischievous influence over all those things too.

So when is Mercury Retrograde? I always check here & I make sure to avoid all the items mentioned below (especially when embarking on something new) unless I’ve taken the correct precautionary measures.
There’s also a Mercury Retro  app for that! Heeee!

  • Androids
  • iPhones

The Usual Mercury Retro Warnings to Be Aware of

  • No contracts! This is time that we’re supposed to avoid making any serious plans or agreements of any kind, no important meetings or legally binding documents.
  • Be careful to communicate extra clearly during this time & throw in some extra patience, clarity & attention to detail during this time. Choose your words carefully. If you’re a Type A personality like me, now’s the time to let your Freak Flag Fly! It will benefit you for taking the extra time & energy to check the details.
  • Be extra wary of all technology; emails & texts included. Stuffs seems to get lost, freeze up or just generally go berserk! Take the time to make sure that important stuffs did indeed get through.
  • Make sure you & your other party are interpreting everything clearly…even in face to face convo’s. If you’re reading something more complex than usual & it’s important, make sure to read it over again & then have someone else double-check it for you.
  • Flip it Around
    So all this sounds like a stressful time, doesn’t it? But it really doesn’t have to be at all. In fact, you can a flip your attitude about it onto its head!

    I prefer to take this time to s-l-o-w it down. I try not to take on something HUGE at this time & not to release or launch a brand new program or course. I find this to be a GREAT time to restructure or reorganize something, do some gentle & supportive personal work. Re-Do Time & take your time. Laid back + zen; simply  renew, revamp & redo!

    As I always try to remember to remember myself…the only thing we have control over is our own reaction to whatever may occur. I choose how to respond. My applied energy & the energy of my created environment will entrain the energy within me & that of  the energy of my current situation (& possibly that of the people involved in it too!) So what can we do?
    Crystals for Mercury Retrograde
    Here are some crystals & stones you can work with pre, during & post Mercury Retrograde:

    Emerald – will help smooth communication & organize activities & plans

    [caption id="attachment_10676" align="aligncenter" width="300"] emerald on quartz[/caption]

    Blue lace agate – helps improve clear calm communication

    [caption id="attachment_4818" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Blue Lace Agate[/caption]

    Fluorite – balances thinking, improves concentrations, organizes thoughts; any color variety will work

    [caption id="attachment_6385" align="aligncenter" width="167"] green banded fluorite[/caption]

    Amazonite – harmony in communication

    [caption id="attachment_10677" align="aligncenter" width="300"] amazonite (photo credit: Rob Levinsky of irocks.com)[/caption]

    Aquamarine – enhances clear communication

    [caption id="attachment_10678" align="aligncenter" width="213"] aquamarine[/caption]
    Mercury Let-Go Rx
    If you find yourself getting all stressed out by classic Mercury-Retro mishaps, remember to switch gears & use some of these ideas for letting go. If you have these tools ready to go when Mercury comes round to play the mischievous messenger, you’ll be able to think clearly in your zenified state & calmly resolve any possible disruptions or hiccups.

    • Letting Go meditation from MeditationOasis.com
    • Whip up a Mercury Let Go Gem Elixir Spray using an elixir from one of the above mentioned crystals (use a gem chip or 2 in the spray as well) along with a few drops of some relaxing organic essential oils such as lavender or ylang ylang (need a little guidance on how to do that…check out my eKit here)
    • Write an affirmation on a slip of paper  like “This is a time of renewal,  review & revitalization” or “I am calm, cool, clear, & focused” & tuck into a little pouch with a few of the above stones. Mercury Retro Mojo Kit to the RESCUE!!

    So, its OK. You’ve got this, Lima Bean!

    Sparkly Blessings!

     

     

    P.S. If you have a particularly funny, crazy or just interesting Mercury Retro story or a good tip for us….please share in the comments below!

    What 5 Crystals Should You Have in Your Beginner’s Kit?

    Hibiscus Moon amethyst, Crystal Healing, Crystals, energy work, love, protection 77 Comments

    I recently asked the Crystal Hotties on my Facebook Page:

    “What are some popular crystal topics that you would like to know about?”

    I promised I would take the TOP 2 & turn 1 into a video (working on that this weekend) & the other into a blog post. Here’s that blog post.

    I won’t get into what shapes your crystals should be, whether natural, cut or polished here in this post since that’s really a whole other topic for another day. Since this is for a beginner’s kit, my advice is to select the 1 crystal shape or size that calls to you most & still fits within your budget. If that means just getting 1 tumbled stone of each then that will be PERFECT. Go for it!♥

    So,  what 5 crystals you should have in your beginner’s kit?

    Well, that really would vary by individual. But we can determine 5 Must-Haves.

    Now, there are so many ways to go with this. But I wanted to keep the list simple using inexpensive & easy-to-obtain crystals. Didn’t want to send you hunting to the ends of the Earth looking for the most rare & expensive crystals I could think of…like this…

    [caption id="attachment_8679" align="aligncenter" width="537"] This is papagoite…a NOTORIOUSLY expensive crystal due to its rarity & beauty….NOT part of my list. ;)[/caption]

    Drum roll please…
    Your 5 Must Have Crystals
    Clear Quartz
    1. Clear quartz is a must. It’s so versatile & can be used for ANY purpose so you’ve got to have 1 of these babies.

    It’s also a very powerful amplifier! Quartz amplifies any vibrational frequencies, including our own.

    [caption id="attachment_8681" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Clear quartz[/caption]

    Why does quartz work so well with us? B/c clear crystal quartz’ chemical formula is SiO2 aka silica. Scientists have determined that our bodies are partially made of liquid silica crystals. Our cells each have their own EMF (electromagnetic frequency), just as our entire body does, just as Mother Earth does.

    Our cells’ EMF is actually maintained by silica! Nobel Prize winner Adolf Butenant, proved that life cannot exist without silica. The average human body holds about 7g of silica, way more than other important minerals such as iron. Yeah! I KNOW!! It’s vital to life.

    So needless to say, quartz works with us very well. OK, so that’s my long answer on why quartz is important. Actually…I can go waaaaaaay longer, but I’ll let you off easy this time, Chick Pea.
    Citrine
    2. Citrine, which is also quartz that’s been heated up in Mother Earth’s kitchen (actually usually starts out as usually amethyst or sometimes smokey quartz) to turn various shades of champagne, yellow & sometimes a very deep iced tea color known as Medeira.

    BTW, I don’t feel that your citrine must be a natural 1. A tumbled citrine will work just fine. I have a 2 part video series on what the difference are & why I feel that way here: Part 1 + Part 2.

    [caption id="attachment_8682" align="aligncenter" width="553"] This is a natural Congo citrine, quite dark in color. Can you FEEL that sunny energy?[/caption]

    Citrine’s energy is happy & creative so if you’re feeling down or need to get out of a creative block, reach for this. It gives a great boost to anything to do with finances or prosperity & abundance. Its also a great manifestor with it’s sunny energy.
    Rose Quartz
    3. Rose quartz, also quartz. Scientists still argue on exactly what elements cause the pink color so we won’t get into that. It grows in masses so you will very rarely find it in a natural point.

    It’s a really great stone to have around b/c its energy is very calming, gentle & compassionate….a stone of love; love of all sorts.  Whenever you feel the need to feel loved or you need or want to offer compassion, grab your rose quartz. That’s what I do!

    [caption id="attachment_8684" align="aligncenter" width="453"] A large cut & polished rose quartz point.[/caption]
    Green Aventurine
    4. Green aventurine, again…another type of quartz (are we noticing a theme here?) It also grows in masses so no points at all here. I say “green” aventurine b/c it does come in other colors, although more rare. Also, the greens can vary from very dark to much lighter.

    [caption id="attachment_8685" align="aligncenter" width="570"] Luscious green aventurine tumblies.[/caption]

    This is a very important stone to get your hands on b/c its all about vitality…of anything; health, growth, finances, confidence, friends. Its a common healing stone so a go-to stone for any ailments.
    Amethyst
    5. Amethyst, yep, another quartz…with traces of iron & manganese giving it that lovely purple color.They come in natural points large & small, also often found in clusters within large geodes…known as druse.

    [caption id="attachment_8686" align="aligncenter" width="554"] This amethyst point has been cut & polished.[/caption]

    Amethyst is a great stone of protection & purification. Its also known to enhance intuition & helps with the release of addictions…so a great 1 to have around.
    So that’s my 5 crystals! Here’s a quick recap list:

  • Clear quartz
  • Citrine
  • Rose quartz
  • Green aventurine
  • Amethyst
  • It’s not 100% comprehensive but…with those crystals in your tool box, you can cover a lot of ground, no? If you have others you’d like to add…like I said…there are so many ways we could go with this, please post them in the comments below! 🙂

    HUGE HUGS & BIG Spirit Blessings!