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Jewelers Attracted to Mysterious and Ancient Obsidian.

"I was unfamiliar with the obsidian until I made a trip a few years ago to Armenia," said Thierry Vendome, a jewelry designer in the Marais quarter of Paris whose collection of obsidian jewelry titled "Armenia" was born of that trip.

PARIS — Ever in search of innovative new materials and gems, some contemporary jewelers and designers have recently been looking backward rather than forward.

The focus of their attention is ancient obsidian, a volcanic glass formed as an igneous rock. This natural glass, in fiery shades of brown, black or blood red, resulted from flowing volcanic lava millions of years ago.

Darkly transparent in its most prized variety, with infinitely sharp edges, obsidian served prehistoric man as a cutting blade in battle and is today used for surgical instruments, but it has long been used to make decorative objects as well.


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