What Are Obsidian Knives and Why They Are Rare?

Obsidian knives are unique types of knives, as they are created from volcanic glass. Because of their uniqueness, obsidian knives tend to be some of the most valuable knives ever made. For this reason, finding a genuine and unaltered obsidian knife is quite tricky. Therefore, it is not recommended that you purchase a quality knife on eBay or elsewhere online when looking for an authentic one.

Obsidian knives are some of the oldest known knives and date back to 10,000 B.C. According to most archaeological accounts, the use of obsidian knives was one of the first instances where a man attempted to fashion a weapon with a cutting edge out of an object other than bone or wood. Obsidian knives are so rare because it took man thousands of years to come up with an effective method for reshaping this volcanic glass. However, when this process was discovered, the obsidian blade became extremely popular and was used for hunting and other purposes by every culture.

The rarity of Obsidian Knives

Obsidian knives are also unique knives because they are not created from just one piece of glass. Any obsidian knife that you will find in an online auction was most likely assembled from at least three pieces of glass and then ground down to form a deadly edge. This is because there is not enough natural obsidian that exists in the world today to create large numbers of knives like this. Collectors of obsidian knives will tell you that a minimal number of true obsidians knives are made by a traditional method, and some only exist in museums today.

Because of the rarity of genuine obsidian knives, any knife sold as such is almost certainly made with an artificial substance. While exactly how such a knife could be created is another story entirely, it can be safely assumed that it will not live up to the quality of a genuine obsidian knife. So, when looking for an authentic obsidian knife, the first step is to learn the difference between a genuine article and a cheap imitation.

  • The first thing to look for is what type of glass it is made from. Genuine obsidian knives are usually made from black coloured volcanic rock called “obsidian,” which is also referred to as “volcanic glass.” So if a knife that you are looking at on eBay or elsewhere claims to be made of “obsidian” but is primarily a lighter colour than black, it cannot be authentic.
  • Another clue that the knife is not genuine is how the glass appears under a microscope. It is likely that if it does not appear to be black, at least some of the glass in question is a fused mineral typically referred to as “frit.”
  • Another thing to look for is imperfections in the blade. Obsidian knives are considered the sharpest knives ever made and can even cut through metals such as steel when appropriately honed.
  • One final thing to look for is where the blade is made. While obsidian knives could be made using a few different methods, including hand-polishing, some cultures used a method that required the knife to be formed before it was polished with hammers or sandstone.

With this brief knowledge of the rarity and value of obsidian knives, hopefully, you can make an informed decision when purchasing one. If anyone attempts to sell you an altered piece of glass with a strange shape or poorly attached edge, they are most likely lying to you. Just remember, if it’s on eBay, there’s a high chance that it isn’t real.