Apache Tears - to facet or not?

I’ve read through Jeff Graham’s article here on apache tears and the other articles about glass/obsidian and the troubles with faceting, but I couldn’t find a good answer to my question. For some reason, I’m not able to view the gem price guide to see obsidian prices (I’ve emailed support).

An inlaw gifted me a box of rocks and in it was about 20 apache tears ranging in size from about 1/2 inch to 1 inch, mostly round. All are quite translucent gray and some slightly smokey when under light but black in appearance otherwise. I’ve tried to attach a pic here.

I don’t know what to do with these so I was wondering, are they more valuable to leave as-is, or do I risk trying to facet some of them? I would hate to end up destroying them if they have some measure of value or rarity as-is. I just don’t know what people do with apache tears and they look pretty translucent to me - some have more bubbles than others. I’ve faceted man-made glass before without issues but that glass didn’t really have bubbles or other inconsistencies in it like some of these apache tears do.

I’d appreciate your opinions and suggestions.

Thank you,

Hi Andrea,

That is very pretty obsidian you have pictured. My concern with faceting would be the air bubbles. If you think you can get a clean piece it may be worth trying. I’ve never faceted synthetics or glass, but faceted obsidian pieces are beautiful. Take a look at some images on the web. That said, care should be taken. I once dropped an obsidian cab piece on my kitchen tile floor. It broke into several pieces as expected, but like all glass is also broke into some tiny and very sharp splinters. Maybe try a smaller piece to see how it feels on the machine. You may have found your perfect medium. Good luck!


Thanks for the feedback (and word of caution) Hayden. I’ve been doing some more online searching today and found a faceted piece of obsidian they are saying is an apache tear and it made me realize that if I facet it, it can’t really be a tear anymore. That person said her piece was so rare because she had it faceted by one of the only 2 people in the US that know how to facet apache tears without them “exploding”. (That was on Etsy). I think I’ll take one of the smaller ones to facet but leave the others as “specimens”. I’d hate to think the only “value” from a faceted apache tear is gained by misleading the buyer like that person did on Etsy.


Yes have faceted many apache tears and pieces of rubble obsidian it facets beautiful to smoky quartz gold color usually cut a Dutch rose design.polish with cerium oxide on matrix lap no problems