Favorite Links
Salavador Aguirre Castillo
Rainbow Obsidian

To Contact:
This artisanís page is part of the Feria Maestros del Arte website, a non-profit organization providing a yearly venue for Mexican folk artisans to come together to sell their work. If you wish to purchase the artisan's work other than at the Feria, you MUST contact them directly.

Ocampo #5, LD 01
Tequila, Jalisco
374 742 1610

There are five family members in Salvador Aguirre's family that work with obsidian - each has a different area of expertise. Salvador is 69 years old and has been sculpting rainbow obsidian since he was 15 years old.

Obsidian can contain small bubbles of air that are aligned along layers created as the molten rock was flowing just before being cooled. These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as a golden sheen, known as Sheen Obsidian or a rainbow sheen called Rainbow Obsidian. Inclusions of small, white, radially clustered crystals of cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern producing Snowflake Obsidian. Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears.

His inspiration comes from the natural beauty of this volcanic stone he shapes into incredible shapes and designs. He loves his work and says that as he labors in making a piece, "he becomes one with the stone." Before working, the stone speaks, telling him what shape it must take.

Francisco has won many prizes for his work including one in Portland, Oregon when he went to the US with the Instituto Jalisiense de la Artesania. He has also won various prizes in his home of Tequila, Jalisco, where he is very well known for his work with rainbow obsidian.

Many believe rainbow obsidian is particularly powerful in meditation to dissolve shock, fear or barriers. It expands your consciousness, sharpens the senses and can help you delve deep into mysterious phenomena and experiences. Obsidian helps to protect the very sensitive against depression. It is the stone of the soft-hearted and gentle people of the world. As a black gemstone, it symbolizes self-control and resilience. Black stones have protective energies in the sense that black is the absence of light, and therefore, can be used to create invisibility.

Obsidian is a naturally-occurring volcanic glass, usually black and opaque, was an important part of the material culture of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. It's harder than steel, and it fractures smoothly. By splitting it, you can create murderously sharp blades.

A volcanic semi-transparent rock, obsidian is similar in the chemical composition to the crystal quartz. It can be translucent or dark. Obsidian originates from volcanic magma. The magma cools down quickly and doesn't have time to crystallize.

Obsidian can be found in a wide range of colors from dark black or brown with stripes of light green or red tones. There is also the blue type which has a whole variety of beautiful tones.

Obsidian was a highly integrated part of daily and ritual life, and its widespread and varied use may be a significant contributor as to why such a remarkably advanced people made such limited use of metal. Some anthropologists believe when you already have a fine technology, you don't see beyond it.

Sculpting obsidian is not just a folk art, it is indigenous art but was originally used for utilitarian objects by the Aztecs for their axes and knives. For the early Greeks and Egyptians, obsidian was a profitable medium of trade, not so easily available. Once artisans had shaped cutting tools from bronze, they had reason to give up obsidian.

Obsidian can be hewn into one of the sharpest natural minerals. Anthropologists now think the huge and mysterious pre-Aztec city of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, was the center of an obsidian industry.

The Aztecs also used obsidian to make jewelry. A weapon called a macuahuitl (a name derived from the Náhuatl language) was shaped like a wooden club. Its sides are embedded with prismatic blades made from obsidian. They were murderous weapons for cutting an enemy. For a long time, historians have marveled at the amount of ceremonial self-mutilation the Aztecs underwent. Now we find that being cut with obsidian is less painful than you'd think, because it makes

Then the Spanish came with their steel guns, swords, and cannon. They conquered the Aztecs and tried to erase their history. The sublime irony of that is, we now use Aztec obsidian to reconstruct that history. For obsidian carries the imprint of its own past. Once fractured, obsidian slowly reacts to water in a chemical process called hydration. It's possible to read the age of artifacts by seeing how far that process has gone.

Obsidian carved in the form of heart is one of the most popular designs and easily allows the appreciation of the beautiful colored rainbow hidden within.


Favorite Links