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

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, grounding, protection 59 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,

Cutting Cords Using Crystals

Hibiscus Moon energy work, Videos 29 Comments

First of all, you might be wondering what am I even talking about, cutting cords;  what does this mean?

Well sometimes we feel like something is tugging or pulling on our energy, our soul or holding us back or blocking us in some way;  and in the energetic healing world this is often known as “cords being hooked into our energy field”…being hooked into our actual electromagnetic field. Sort of like being caught up in cobwebs.
Some people who work with energy; energy workers, light workers or crystal healers can see or visualize these cords hooked into our aura.
Cords may be due to all kinds of things…it’s usually due to some kind of traumatic event.  Or perhaps we’ve allowed someone to overstep our boundaries; or maybe we have no boundaries.

Different people & beings may have all kinds of energetic cords hooked into us and those cords may be feeding off of our energy.

Good news is that there’s work you can do with energetic work, therapy & setting firm boundaries.

Here in this video & blog I’m going to introduce some tips on how you can work with crystals and minerals to help release and cut those cords.

Energetic Tools for Cutting Cords

I have 2 crystals I think are best for this type of work:   black obsidian & sulfur.
Black Obsidian
Now some people (like me) are cautious with black obsidian because it’s very powerful.

I’m talking specifically about black obsidian; no other kind of obsidian, not rainbow, not mahogany and all the other different types; specifically, black obsidian.

Personally, I don’t wear black obsidian as jewelry on a daily basis or for long extended periods of time nor do I work with it on a daily basis b/c I’m cautious with it. Why? Well, for some black obsidian can be too powerful & can bring your emotions down if you work with it too long, especially if you’re feeling emotionally vulnerable. It’s been known to actually make some people feel depressed.

But sometimes you feel like you really need a powerful punch and for cutting cords, I do feel that black obsidian is ideal; the perfect energetic choice for this sort of work, as long as you make quick work of it.

GeoGEEK Factoid:  Black obsidian is technically not a mineral or crystal, because it’s actually a volcanic glass.  It’s created from a volcanic explosion and then cools so quickly that the molecules don’t have time to set up in that perfect geometric pattern that all crystals have.

Black Obsidian is quick + powerful.

It’s created from a violent volcanic event & then it forms very, very quickly.  So that’s much like the way that I prefer to work with obsidian, get to the point, real quick and powerful and…then get out. 

A handy black obsidian tool & exercise that I talk about in much more detail in my Advanced Crystal Masters course is a black obsidian arrowhead technique

The arrowheads are fairly easy to get and quite inexpensive considering the handy work that it takes to create them.

Now, of course, most black obsidian arrowheads are not an authentic arrowhead created by ancient peoples. Rather they’ve been created relatively recently by human hands…like within the last ten years maybe.

Without getting involved in the details & particulars of the more advanced ritual of this, if you have a black obsidian arrowhead, it’s safe to go ahead and gently “brush” it through your energetic field whenever you’re feeling like you have these energetic cords tugging on or hooking into your energy field.  Or, you can have someone else actually brush over you, much like you would do a sage smudge, and go everywhere, under your feet, around your back, your arms and just all around your body.

While you’re brushing with the obsidian arrowhead, you can say an affirmation like:
“I sever all cords and attachments that do not serve my highest good.”
Maintaining your Energetic Hygiene
I’ve learned the hard way how important our energetic hygiene is. Of course all of us slip here and there, I have for sure & I’ve learned that you’ve got to “put your own oxygen mask on first.”

Just like we take a shower every day and brush our teeth, I feel it’s very important to maintain our energetic hygiene on a regular basis. So what do I mean by that?

I like to do some sort of energy work at least weekly. 

I try to do meditations on a regular basis; shooting for a couple of times a week.

Then at least quarterly throughout the year, on the equinox or the solstices, I like to do a full chakra Crystal Healing. (To find a Hibiscus Moon Certified Crystal Healer in your area, check out our alumni map so you can have a crystal healing session for yourself.)

Doing this is like pushing the reset button; by bringing all of your chakras back into gorgeous alignment, allowing you to start fresh and breathe easy in rhythm with the seasons.
When you’re maintaining your energetic hygiene it’s a lot less likely for these energetic cords to get stuck into your energetic field. Its like probiotics for your body’s immune system; preventative medicine!
But if you’ve been neglecting your energetic hygiene for a while it’s not uncommon to actually feel the symptoms of that…and if you leave those cords in place for a really long time they start to affect you on emotionally and spiritually & eventually on a physical level, condensing down to the 3D level.

So good energetic hygiene prevents energetic cords!
Layer the Energy
Before we talk about the next mineral, I also have an essential oil that I really like working with for this purpose, for cutting cords.

***Please note I am not married to any essential oil company, there are many different ones out there, many different brands, as long as they’re fair trade, sustainably harvested, organic, 100% pure essential oils, then I’m all for it.***

This blend I like for this specific purpose is made by Young Living and it’s called Release.

It’s wonderful for the purpose of cutting cords &  a great energetic support for this type of work.

I like to take a few teeny  black obsidian chips and pop them into the bottle so that the Release oil is actually also marinating in the vibrational frequencies of black obsidian.  Layering the energies baby! 

Be forewarned this oil blend ain’t cheap, so I totally get it if you’d rather make the blend up yourself. The individual essential oils used to create this blend are:

  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Sandalwood
  • Blue Tansy
  • a Carrier Oil, like jojoba, coconut, almond or olive oil; that’s up to you, Jelly Bean! 

Then you can do several things with the oil;

  • You can put a few drops in a bath along with some black obsidian, but make it a quick bath! I wouldn’t be soaking in it for like an hour.  I would get in and out, five minutes and I’m done.
  • While you’re visualizing the intention of cutting the cords, you can diffuse it or heat it in an oil burner.
  • You can also apply it directly right over your liver area, because your liver is your organ for releasing anything physically stuck in your body.  So that works emotionally & spiritually as well on an energetic level.

Sulfur
The other mineral I’ve chosen for cutting cords is sulfur.

I’m not going to go too deep into sulfur b/c I have another video all about it over here 🙂

Sulfur is great for relieving mental stress, helping with low energy and weak willpower….all symptoms of cord attachments, BTW.

Or you can take powdered sulfur &  add it to lotions or oils and apply that directly to your skin, to help clear up skin ailments such as itchy, red skin, Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, scabies & any sort of fungal infection like ringworm.

These sorts of skin infections are cord attachments on your body, you know. Possibly energetic cords that have been left unchecked for some time & have become denser now manifesting as physical skin ailments. Literal parasites. No worries, though. Sulfur to the rescue! Sulfur is a natural antiseptic & antifungal. 🙂

Sulfur has an acrid smell, kind of like rotten eggs. So be aware of that.

It’s another common mineral that shows up relatively quickly near volcanoes.

You can do the same energetic brushing ritual I mentioned above with the sulfur and just, kind of comb your aura, your energetic field by combing or brushing the sulfur around your body.
Cutting Cords Anti-Fungal Ointment
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor and I’m not giving medical advice of any sort. Always check with a doctor first for any medical issues.

This is an ointment that is great for both cutting energetic cords & quite effective for alleviating skin ailments such as the ones discussed above. Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 black obsidian stone
  • 2 Tbs of sulfur powder
  • 7 drops of Release Essential Oil
  • Glass container (you don’t want to add essential oils to plastic as certain oils can cause the plastic to start to break down)

Warm your coconut oil to melt it (if it’s not already liquified). Then add your sulfur, black obsidian & essential oil & shake it up until well mixed. Allow it to cool before applying.

It has a pretty nice scent, but with a bit of that acrid sulfur after-smell. You have to try it out & see what you think. It also leaves a yellow cast to the skin so I wouldn’t rub this stuffs all over, just in a few inconspicuous spots or the places that you need it. Also be sure to test it with a small quantity in a very small area to see how your skin reacts.

Download your FREE recipe pdf so you can easily save & refer to this list to shop for items, create some of your own or to share with others!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my energetic tools & tips here for cutting cords.

I would love to see your comments down below….What you think?  Do  you have other tips?  Or if you’ve tried some of these suggestions please let us all know how you did.

Crystal Blessings,