I was slabbing some obsidian yesterday, not even thinking about finding Fire Obsidian, and there it was, a nice nickel sized area of FIRE Obsidian. That stuff is rare, and/or expensive. I found it in the obsidian I collected on some previous trip to Glass Buttes. I'm stoked. Probably be 10 years before I find my next Fire
Here is the picture;
WOW Dan that is truely aw-some. I hope you find more Fire Obsidian this year. Great polish on it all so. KOR
Dan; Nice Cab look great. The top of Glass Butte had the large`s area of the fire Obsidian, In the 60s there was a time that a D-8 rock hound was working the cap and tons of fire Obsidian was taken off the Mt. it look like long cylinders and of molten flowing glass and these were huge in size and rare though on the cap they were covering the top and the Dozier would just creep slowly forward and raise the blade just enough the break lager piece`s loose and the plates would come out over 100-400 lbs slabs.
Dan; Any fire Obsidian is rare to have, and to find good material. Though I haven`t been to the cap of Glass Butte for over 30 plus years, Though the locals talk is the fire is gone and the forest service got the hound and the D-8 off the hill in the early 70s.
Hi Desert Rock Shop in Lakeview,Oregon Had a Lot of fire Obsidian from the cap of Glass Butte area, Though Don D. Pass on in 1994 and his wife Johann runs the shop now and she may have some old stock on hand.
Your cab is outstanding. What a polish!
I have a question and one comment:
What is the difference between the rainbow obsidian found at Glass Buttes and the fire obsidian?
Back in 1989 I was on a field trip for a bunch of geologists and we camped at Glass Buttes. Obsidian was everywhere and one pit had tons of sheen obsidian in it. While we were hiking up to the summit to observe the geology of the eruption, I chipped pieces of obsidian and found an area that every piece had a rainbow sheen to it. I put a half-dozen pieces in my pack to work with later. Well, they are still buried up somewhere in one of my storage areas (SIGH). I've never been back, but it was a fascinating area.
Thanks Jack and Carl!
Here are a couple of explainations I found;
Fire Obsidian - an ultra-rare, expensive variety from Oregon which has extreme, multi-color flashes in layers. The colorful effect is sort of a cross between a Black Opal, Spectrolite and Fire Agate - though the material is much rarer than any of these. Usually made into cabochons, but also occasionally seen in high-end flaked collectors' arrowheads and blades. Mahogany and Sheen types are sometimes mistakenly labeled as "fire obsidian" - make sure that the photo shows the more colorful rare variety when you encounter a listing for Fire Obsidian.
Rainbow, or Sheen Obsidian - this is a family of valued types which consists of sub-types categorized according to the effect or color displayed. Microscopic bubbles and/or crystals of Feldspar or Mica trapped in the Obsidian result in a chatoyant (irridescent) sheen when the stone is viewed from certain angles.
The best way I can describe the difference is Rainbow is Semi-Opaque, due to the sheen effect, whereas Fire Obsidian is in Very translucent obsidian, and the Fire comes from a very, very thin layer within the clear obsidian, like a piece of fish aquarium foil within the rock. Another way to describe it would be the rainbow of an oil slick within the clear obsidian. I think it might have something to due with the sheen effect, but stretched very thin. Maybe someone can desribe it better than me.
Interesting! Does the "fire" occur in sheets or in isolated patches such as in your cab?
I'm a student of optical phenomena in minerals and materials. I think I remember a paper assigning the color in "sheen" obsidian to oriented crystallites of pyroxene, but don't quote me on that. Bright colors in labradorite feldspar from Oregon are attributed to flakes of copper, I wonder is something similar may be the cause in the obsidian?
I think it can occur in sheets, but I would isolated pockets may be more common. To me it seems like a layer "like" the lace in midnight lace has been stretched real thin, so I would imagine if you could find a layer stretched big enough you could get sheets. Most of what I have seen has been cab sized though.
WOW Dan that is a thing of beauty for sure!
Nice find and I hope you find a lot more!
Thanks for getting out there and finding such great material! I've never heard and or seen fire obsidian before and am sure thankful you've shared this beauty with us. Way cool, thanks much!!!! All the very best,
Hi John, Hi Tom,
Thanks! I wasn't expecting to find this, but I'll take it. :-)
Now I have to wait till spring to get to Glass Buttes again :-(
Maybe we will get a stretch of good weather and I can get there early.
Thanks again, KOR
A beautiful piece. Rare and expensive to buy is an understatement.
To see the fire in rough, you must have an angel, looking over your shoulder. Been hounding since early seventies. Never held a piece just pictures.
Dan here is another Glass Butte obsidian for your enjoyment:
My dust blows along the Hellas Planita,
and songs of mine echo faintly at dusk
over the Martian plain.
Like tears in rain, lost in the swirls of space time.
Fire Obsidian cabs. I have some pics of a few fire obsidian arrowheads showing the ribbon and etc, but they're larger than we're allowed to upload.
Dan, Nice find. I got a small amount of rough from a dealer here in Colorado. Cuts some wonderful cabs but don't cut thru that fire line because its usually the only one in the stone.
Phil, Nice pics from the claim owners site. You should see the pieces that she keeps for herself. I met her at the Rainbow Ridge 4th of July festivites in 2004. She has a piece that would shame most black opal. Got a single piece of rough from her that I cut double sided with gold fire on one side and bright red on the other. Now in my wife's personal collection.
The Amethyst Rose
Hey Dan,That IS a beauty!
RED like that is the just the best!You got it to show up Perfect and it's a trick to level the layer just right and not wipe it out polishing down too far! Congrats on your Winner!
Phil-those look like the super expensive ones from the "claim" out there....that one spot has that iridescence of all colors doesn't it? From what I've seen no one else gets THAT kind...
I do know for a fact that the Fire layers can occur right in the middle of a mass of mahogany or gold sheen obsidian AS well as in separate more consistent flow spots of 'their own'.
I look for possible fire 'ribbons' in obsidian rough All the time too(meaning at every Oregon show or when we visit Glass Butte). The best I've done was ONE find of my own,one polished piece from an old (er-than-me) lady who looked at me like I was nuts when I exclaimed it was "rare"(I'd bet now she got a ton off that "cap" mentioned above!!!)and one time a dealer had ALL his obsidians for a buck a pound and I got 2 out of his pile that had fire(it took me over an hour to find those two with water in the hot Madras sun,and I was "blind" and needed a time out afterwords! :lol .
Well,thanks Dan....that makes me want to spend some time with mine....trying to get one or two out of the "host" chunks.I ruined one once (10 years ago) though trying to get a slab right and have been afeared to mess up again ever since! Maybe now that I'm older and slower it'll help the cause!
Talk about Old Dogs and New Tricks!
I`ve been to Glass Buttes over a 30 year period of time, and never heard of or imagined fire obsidian. All of the pictures are beautiful! I thought I was on top of the world there when I found gold sheen and rainbow varieties. Gotta get back there to look some more.
Thanks! Jay nice Midnight Lace cab! Thanks everyone else.
Herb, I had only started hearing about it last year, never thought I would stumble on some, I don't know how long that particular rock has been sitting in the pile, but quite a while. Now I am ready to go back there and see what I can find. It is some really nice looking stuff.
Thanks Dan for giving me a name for my obsidian. I never would have thought of calling it midnight lace. To me it looks like dust storms on Mars or in a desert on the blue planet, third from the Sun.
You done waxed eloquent, my friend. I love the poem. It perfectly fits the polished scene. Thanx!
There is a real basis for my flights of imagination: