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The Differences Between Whitby Jet and Black Obsidian

Jewellery & Watch News

Black Obsidian is another Jet lookalike with its fine shine and opaque colour. To the untrained eye it feels impossible to distinguish between the two as they do look very much alike yet there are a few subtle differences that help identify our favourite stone. With some practice you will become experts of separating the two. 


What is Obsidian?


It’s a type of volcanic glass that is found in many parts of the world. It forms when lava erupts from a volcano and cools at such a rapid pace that atoms cannot arrange into a crystalline structure. It is known as an igneous rock. Obsidian has a smooth, uniform texture that is highly desirable in the jewellery world. The gemstone takes on many different appearances being found in brown, tan or green and occasionally blue, red, orange or yellow. However, it is obviously the most common colour black that is often mistaken as Whitby Jet. In the past, Obsidian was used to make very sharp arrowheads and weapons. It was also polished to create some of the earliest mirrors in existence.




The Differences


If you do come across Whitby Jet and Black Obsidian here’s a few tips to differentiate between the two. 


  • Obsidian is heavier than Jet. Although both are fairly lightweight, Jet is the lighter of the two.  


  • We have to admit that Black Obsidian has a beautiful high sheen similar to Jet however, Obsidian has a more glass-like appearance due to how it’s formed. Whitby Jet is fossilised wood whereas Obsidian is natural glass. 


  • An Obsidian stone can be transparent in areas with the light shining through the darkness. 


  • Raw Obsidian usually has a conchoidal fracture, which is the industry term for a curved break off point when the glass gets chipped away. 




Ask An Expert


As you can see, it’s not that obvious when it comes to knowing the difference between Whitby Jet and Black Obsidian. Although, their origins are very different, they do have similar traits that make many confused. If unsure, it’s worthwhile asking a professional who works with gemstones a lot and can easily spot those discreet contrasts.

Here at the Whitby Jet Store we know everything there is to know about our local gemstone that is sourced along the North Yorkshire coastline. If you’re looking for an authentic piece of Jet, you’ve come to the right place. Everything we sell online and in store is the real deal. We pride ourselves on only working with the most finest, naturally sourced Whitby Jet found on our local beaches. Therefore, you know that you’re getting an authentic piece of Whitby Jet jewellery when you shop with us. 


As you’re probably aware, there are a few different black stones that are often mistaken for Jet. Coal, Onyx and French Jet are the most common imposters in the industry. If like us you’re fascinated with the geology world it’s interesting to know how to distinguish each stone. We’ve done all the hard work for you! 


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