"Apache Tears" are rounded nodules of Obsidian (volcanic glass) which
are typically translucent to transparent, brown in color
and found near Superior, Pioneer District, Pinal Mountains, Pinal County, Arizona.
They are often found in a grayish-white rhyolite/perlite
matrix or found loose having been eroded from this matrix.
Rhyolite is an igneous volcanic (extrusive) rock of
felsic (silica-rich) composition. Apache Tears are generally
available as rough nodules as they are found or tumbled
or polished and occassionally available as faceted gems.
Gems are typically a medium brown color with translucent
(sleepy) to transparent clarity.
The name "Apache Tears" comes from a legend of the Apache tribe: about 75 Apache
warriors and the US Cavalry fought on a mountain overlooking what is now Superior, Arizona
in the 1870s. Facing defeat, the outnumbered Apache warriors rode their
horses off the mountain to their deaths rather than be killed by the soldiers. The
wives and families of the warriors cried when they heard of the tragedy and
their tears turned to stone upon hitting the ground.