Formed millions of years ago in volcanic lava, obsidian is a dense, glasslike igneous rock with dramatic patterns and colorations.
One of the most obsidian-rich landscapes in the world is located in Armenia, where more than a dozen obsidian-bearing volcanic centers fill a region smaller than the state of Maryland. It was here that early man discovered that obsidian fractures into very sharp edges, making it ideal for Stone Age weapons. Tools and weapons produced here, in vast open-air workshops, circulated across the continent along early human migration and trade routes during the Paleolithic, Bronze and Iron ages.
Centuries later, Armenian artisans developed highly sophisticated cutting techniques that are still in use today. Armenian obsidian, known for its exceptional purity, is now prized as a gemstone and considered by some to have exceptional healing properties. Modern uses include fine jewelry, surgical scalpels and luxurious decorative items.
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