White spots on gold obsidian

I bought some beautiful obsidian with a gold shimmer at the Las
Vegas AGTA show last month. Now I am seeing some white spots showing
up on the surfaces of the stones - small white dots.

I mentioned this to a friend who said she had had the same
experience with obsidian a few years ago.

Now I can’t use these stones, and I feel sure that the vendor is
reliable and I can return them for a refund, but I would prefer to
use them as planned.

Does anyone know what’s happening with these stones?

Hi Rose,

As usual, one can only guess without actually seeing/touching/
examingin a stone, but two possibilities come to mind:

The gold sheen in obsidian is caused by tiny bubbles aligned during
the flow of the molten material. Sometimes, if my memory holds, they
will contain cristobalite, a white material (which is what makes the
’snowflakes’ in snowflake obsidian). And sometimes, tiny bits of
polishing compound get into the little bubbles open to the surface.

Take a close look under magnification and see if that gives you a
better idea of what’s there. I don’t think it’s a change in the
stone, as much as something becoming more obvious…

You’ll probably get a few more explanations, but thought I’d start
with this.


What’s happening to the obsidian is that it is crystallizing into a
form of quartz called cristobalite. The process isn’t reversible and
can’t be stop ped. Recutting the stones would get rid of the white
spots, but it’s likely that the process could start up again.

Caren Johannes
The Amethyst Rose