Rock Discoveries

Discovering Apache Tears: A Guide to Finding and Understanding this Unique Stone

Discovering Apache Tears: A Guide to Characteristic, Origin, Formation, and Location

When it comes to precious stones, there are a few that have captured the imagination of many around the world. One of these stones is Apache Tears.

Not only is it a remarkable and beautiful stone, but it is also surrounded by myth and legend. In this article, well explore the characteristics, origin, formation, and location of Apache Tears to provide you with a comprehensive guide to this unique stone.

Characteristics of Apache Tears

Apache Tears, also known as Black Obsidian Tears, is a semi-precious stone that is mostly found in the southwestern United States. This stone comes in the form of small, round, and polished black pebbles.

It is made of obsidian, which is a type of volcanic black glass. One of the most striking characteristics of Apache Tears is that they look like drop-like conglomerations with a polished appearance.

This makes them ideal for a number of applications, including jewelry making.

The legend of the Apache Tears

The legend of the Apache Tears is one of the most fascinating aspects of this stone. According to the legend, during a battle between Apache warriors and the U.S. Cavalry, a small group of Apache warriors found themselves surrounded by the soldiers on a cliff.

The warriors knew that they could not escape, and they did not want to be taken alive. Instead, they chose to jump off the cliff to their death.

The Apache women and children who witnessed the event started to cry, and their tears turned into stones as they hit the ground. These stones became known as Apache Tears.

Geologic Formation of Apache Tears

The geologic formation of Apache Tears is also quite interesting. These stones are formed from obsidian nodules, which are rounded masses of volcanic glass.

When obsidian nodules are exposed to the elements over time, they break down into small pieces that become polished and smooth. This process takes millions of years to complete, and the result is the unique appearance of Apache Tears.

Where to Find Apache Tears

Now that we have discussed the characteristics and formation of Apache Tears, its time to explore where you can find them. Here are some places where you can find Apache Tears:

Superior, Arizona: Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Perlite mine, Picketpost Mountain

Scotty’s Junction, Nevada: Highway 95, Beatty, BLM land

Fish Lake Valley, Nevada: Sierra Nevada, California, dry lake bed, hot springs

Mule Creek, New Mexico (Roadside): Gila National Forest, Highway 78, wash bottom

Mule Creek, New Mexico (Interior): forest service dirt roads, rhyolitic volcanic ash deposits, cliff bands, canyons

East Grants Ridge, New Mexico: garnets, topaz, Cibola National Forest, Lobo Canyon Road, gypsum mine.

In these locations, there are a variety of ways to find Apache Tears. For example, in Superior, Arizona, you can find them at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum or the perlite mine near Picketpost Mountain.

In Scotty’s Junction, Nevada, you can find them on BLM land off of Highway 95. In Fish Lake Valley, Nevada, you can find them on the dry lake bed or at the hot springs.

In Mule Creek, New Mexico, you can find them along Highway 78 or on forest service dirt roads near the cliffs and canyons. Finally, in East Grants Ridge, New Mexico, you can find them while searching for gypsum in the Cibola National Forest along Lobo Canyon Road.


In conclusion, Apache Tears are a fascinating and unique stone that has captured the imagination of people around the world. With its combination of myth, legend, and scientific formation, it is easy to understand why.

If youre interested in finding Apache Tears, the locations above are good places to start your search. And for those who already own Apache Tears, these stones are a beautiful and meaningful addition to any collection.

Final Thoughts:

Where to Find Apache Tears and Joining the Rockhounding Community

If youre interested in finding Apache Tears, there are a few additional resources that can help you in your search. In this section, well discuss local rock and gem clubs, an Arizona rockhounding guide, and sharing information with other rockhounds.

Local Rock and Gem Clubs

One of the best ways to get started with rockhounding is to join a local rock and gem club. These clubs offer a wealth of knowledge and resources regarding finding and collecting rocks and minerals.

They also serve as a community where you can meet other rockhounds and share your experiences. By joining a local rock and gem club, you can get help starting out with your rockhounding.

Experienced members may be able to provide you with tips on where to start looking for Apache Tears, as well as what tools and equipment you will need. You may also be able to join members on rockhounding trips to learn more about the craft.

Arizona Rockhounding Guide

For those specifically interested in rockhounding in Arizona, the Arizona Geological Survey has an excellent online resource. Their interactive guide provides GPS coordinates, directions, and maps to nearly 200 different rockhounding destinations throughout the state.

The guide not only includes locations for Apache Tears but also for a variety of other minerals, gemstones, and fossils. The guide is searchable by mineral type and location, making it easy to find the locations that interest you the most.

Sharing Information with Other Rockhounds

Another great resource for rockhounding is other rockhounds! By sharing information and tips with one another, you can expand your knowledge and improve your chances of finding Apache Tears. One great way to share information is through online communities.

There are a variety of forums and social media groups dedicated to rockhounding, where you can connect with other enthusiasts and discuss your finds. These communities can be particularly helpful if youre looking for specific information about finding Apache Tears in a particular location.

Additionally, if youre able to attend local rock and gem shows, you may be able to meet like-minded individuals who can offer you advice and guidance. Many vendors at these shows are experienced rockhounds and may be able to offer tips on where to find Apache Tears in your area.

Joining a rock and gem club is also an excellent way to connect with other rockhounds and share information. Many clubs hold regular meetings and events where members can discuss their latest finds and offer help to one another.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Apache Tears are a fascinating and beautiful stone, and finding them can be a rewarding experience for rockhounds. With the help of local rock and gem clubs, Arizona rockhounding guides, and other enthusiasts, you can start your own collection of Apache Tears and expand your knowledge of the craft.

Whether youre a seasoned rockhound or just starting out, theres always something new to learn and explore in the world of rockhounding. In conclusion, Apache Tears are a unique and fascinating stone that have captured the imagination of many.

We’ve covered their characteristics, origin, formation, and locations where they can be found, as well as resources for joining the rockhounding community. By using these tips and resources, you can start building your own collection of Apache Tears and expand your knowledge of the craft.


Q: What is Apache Tears? A: Apache Tears is a semi-precious stone made of obsidian, a type of volcanic black glass that looks like small, round, polished black pebbles.

Q: What is the legend of Apache Tears? A: According to the legend, Apache Tears were formed from the tears of Apache women and children witnessing the suicide of their warriors who jumped off a cliff to their death during a battle against the U.S. Cavalry.

Q: Where can I find Apache Tears? A: Apache Tears can be found in locations such as Superior, Arizona, Scotty’s Junction, Nevada, Fish Lake Valley, Nevada, Mule Creek, New Mexico along highway 78 and in interior forest service dirt roads, and East Grants Ridge, New Mexico.

Q: How are Apache Tears formed? A: Apache Tears are formed from obsidian nodules which break down into small pieces that become polished and smooth due to exposure to the elements.

Q: How can I join the rockhounding community and find more information about Apache Tears? A: Joining a local rock and gem club, using an Arizona rockhounding guide, and sharing information with other rockhounds through online communities, or attending local rock and gem shows are great ways to connect and strengthen your knowledge on rockhounding.

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