What Was Obsidian Used for in Ancient Times?

Throughout history, humans have used a variety of materials for various purposes. One such material that has been highly valued since ancient times is obsidian.

Obsidian is a natural volcanic glass that is formed when lava cools rapidly. It has been used for various purposes, from making weapons to jewelry. In this article, we will explore the different uses of obsidian in ancient times.


One of the most popular uses of obsidian in ancient times was for making weapons. The sharp edges of obsidian were ideal for making arrows, spears, and knives.

Obsidian blades were sharper than those made from stone and could easily cut through animal hides and bones. The Aztecs, for example, used obsidian blades to make swords and other weapons.


Apart from weapons, obsidian was also commonly used for making tools such as scrapers, drills, and awls. These tools were essential in everyday life for tasks such as hunting and farming. The sharp edges of obsidian made it ideal for cutting and scraping materials like leather.


Obsidian’s unique properties also made it an excellent material for creating jewelry. Ancient civilizations crafted beautiful pendants, beads, and other jewelry items from obsidian due to its beauty and durability. The Incas even used it to make mirrors that had reflective surfaces as smooth as glass.

Religious Ceremonies

Obsidian also played a significant role in religious ceremonies in many ancient cultures. It was often used as a medium to create figurines or idols that represented gods or goddesses. The Mayans believed that the mirror-like surface of obsidian could reveal the future or provide insight into the supernatural world.


In conclusion, obsidian was an incredibly versatile material that played a significant role in many aspects of life in ancient times. Its sharp edges made it ideal for creating weapons and tools, while its beauty and durability made it perfect for crafting jewelry.

Additionally, obsidian’s unique properties made it an important material in religious ceremonies. Even today, obsidian continues to be highly valued for its many uses and remains a popular material for jewelry-making and other decorative purposes.