the black gold of Lipari
In ancient times the Obsidian extracted in Lipari was exported all over the Mediterranean area. It comes under the category of volcanic glass and it was one of the most used materials in the past, from cutting blades to works of art and jewels, thanks to its aesthetic qualities of brightness and hardness. Ancient sources witness that the Obsidian was used to prepare magic potions and medicines and it is claimed its beneficial effect on sight. It was defined as “the apple of the Gods”, for acting as an intermediary between the Human world and the afterlife. It was strongly believed that the obsidian had divine properties reason why Obsidian Balls were built and used to predict the future. The obsidian of Lipari is generally found in black or grey. In prehistoric times it was of great importance for trades: Aeolian obsidian has been found also in the French coasts. It is still extracted nowadays (although less quantities) and it is used for the production of jewels and blades of specific tools.
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