Obsidian is often sought after by many types of people. Unlike certain gemstones and other minerals Obsidian is wanted not only by gem and mineral collectors but also by flint knappers. Obsidian has been used for thousands of years to make arrowheads used for hunting.

Obsidian is hard to find for many arrowhead makers. If you live in Southern Idaho or another area where Obsidian is easily found with a little bit of knowledge then you can make a killing selling Obsidian.

Collecting Obsidian and removing it from the land may be illegal, especially if it is controlled by a Government entity. There is no need to break the law as Obsidian can easily be found on private property. Make sure you contact the land owner and receive permission to enter his or her land and also permission to collect the obsidian.


Crafting arrowheads is a very fun hobby for many people. The art of flint knapping has been around since at least the early Indians. When you are searching for Obsidian make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for authentic Indian arrowheads which are still commonly found, especially in the west. Flint knappers recreate the ancient process and use Obsidian to craft arrowheads in a similar manner as our Indian Ancestors. The craft of making arrowheads is often limited by a lack of Obsidian.


Obsidian is also commonly called “Volcano Glass”. Volcano Glass is a great term as Obsidian is actually formed by Volcanoes.  The best definition of Obsidian comes from Wikipedia

Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.

It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition (high silica content) induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava. The inhibition of atomic diffusion through this highly viscous and polymerized lava explains the lack of crystal growth. Because of this lack of crystal structure, obsidian blade edges can reach almost molecular thinness, leading to its ancient use as projectile points and blades, and its modern use as surgical scalpel blades


Anywhere there is ancient volcanic activity such as old lava flows you can often expect to find Obsidian if you keep your eyes peeled. In Southern Idaho I have found Obsidian in numerous places out hiking and camping. You do not however have to be near volcanic activity to find Obsidian.

You can find obsidian in places that seemingly have never had volcanic activity, but there was in all probability a lot of volcanic activity there in ancient and pre-historic times. In addition to finding obsidian in the great outdoors, you can also find it in many un-likely locations.

I was leaving a church a few weeks ago and spied some obsidian rocks on the ground. The church had a gravel parking lot. As we looked around the parking lot was literally paved with Obsidian, or so it seemed. There was a lot of Obsidian, more than 3 of us could have picked up. I grabbed some samples and a few days later called the church to find out when the parking lot last was covered with gravel and which company did it.

If you use some detective work you can trace the gravel to the right company and often find a minefield of obsidian. Most gravel companies could care less about an amateur rock hound collecting some obsidian samples, as long as you get permission first.

During daytime hours the gravel pits are often busy with trucks entering and loading. If you can find a low traffic time to visit the gravel pit and grease the palms of the watchman you can often get free reign to gather some obsidian samples. I say some obsidian samples because that is what you will get as you cannot expect to take in a truck and load it up with obsidian samples for free.

What you are looking for is some quality obsidian. When you find some quality obsidian you can then once again begin your detective work and find out where the rock sin the gravel pit originally came from. There are numerous ways of finding bulk obsidian.

I could go on for days about how to collect and find Obsidian in large amounts, but I am assuming that you already have a source of Volcano Glass and are simply looking for ways to sell some of your excess.

Selling Obsidian

You can sell Obsidian on the Internet and in roadside booths at tourist traps, but the best method of selling Obsidian is to network with people who make arrowheads and or jewelry out of this volcano glass. Tradeshows and pioneer celebrations can be a great place to begin your search and find mission when looking to network with arrowhead makers.

FaceBook and other social networking websites is a great way to meet people and stay in touch with them. What you are looking to do is build up a reputation of always having obsidian. You build up a list of 100 or so people that have a need to buy obsidian and then stay in contact with them. When they need obsidian you will be the first person they contact, and as always you will have obsidian for them regardless of how much or how little they need.

Preferably you try and build up as many contacts as you can within your area and region. If you only have a little bit of Obsidian then it may not be worth it to go through this hassle, but if you got a steady source of Obsidian and truly want to make a nice income off of it then you need to network with as many people as you can.

When you establish a contact you never want to ask them to buy Obsidian. You simply let them know that you always have Obsidian if there source ever runs dry. Most active arrowhead and jewelry makers will run out of Obsidian and if you are their friend they will call you first. It is like dealing drugs except it is legal.

Obsidian is relatively common so the price of Obsidian is low. Prices vary in each area but you can expect about $2.00 per pound for average run of the mill black colored Obsidian. If a buyer wants a large quantity you will obviously discount heavily for them. You can charge a premium if you have a rare colored piece of Obsidian or if it is a large chunk. If you are selling say a 45 pound single piece of obsidian you can generally charge a bit more for it. Some people find it more profitable to break the large chunks down into smaller pieces, but often times it may create more of a demand if you keep it whole. Many flint knappers have never seen a huge piece of Obsidian before.

You will not get rich selling Obsidian, but you can make some nice pocket change if you have a steady source of Obsidian that you can legally collect.