Obsidian Color

Obsidian Color – Exploring the Mystique of Obsidian Shades

You might have heard about the obsidian color before, but maybe you cannot quite picture what it looks like. Most would agree that it is a very dark, almost black color. However, when it comes to paint and online colors, many seem to have different ideas of what the obsidian color is. So, to find a more accurate description, let us dig a little deeper into what this mysterious color is!



What Color Is Obsidian?

Obsidian itself is a type of volcanic glass that is produced when the lava from a volcano cools rapidly. Typically, the obsidian appears to be glossy and jet black, however, due to the presence of certain chemical compounds like iron oxide, you also get varieties that have reddish and brown colors. Other types can have blue, green, yellow, or gray streaks.

You even get a golden sheen obsidian and a rainbow-type obsidian. However, these are extremely rare in their natural form, and many of the stones you might find at the market are most likely man-made.

Going by this description, we think that the obsidian color is closest to the color found in the table below. This is a very dark, almost black color that has an orange undertone. The obsidian color code for this particular hue is #3a322d, which can be used to identify it online. Read further below to find more similar obsidian colors.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Obsidian#3a322d0, 14, 22, 7758, 50, 45 


Obsidian Color: A Brief History

Obsidian is an igneous rock that is hard, brittle, and without a definitive shape. The rock can easily fracture, causing sharp edges to form, which is what makes it useful for cutting purposes and making many types of tools. The rock has been used for thousands of years by many civilizations because of this very characteristic.  The name “obsidian” first came about when a Roman explorer by the name of Gaius Opsidius Geminus, first discovered the stone in Ethiopia. The volcanic glass stone became popular in Rome and was named Lapis obsidianus, now known as obsidian. Even though it was only named during this period, it was still used thousands of years before this.

Obsidian was valued because it could be fractured to create sharp edges that could be used to make arrowheads and blades or used as tools. Artifacts made of obsidian have been found across Europe, dating back to the Neolithic period.

Obsidian Color Code

Obsidian has also been found in areas like Japan, dating back thousands of years before Christ, close to areas where there was volcanic activity. Obsidian was also traded and used throughout the Americas. The Aztecs were known to use the obsidian as mirrors to summon visions and used it for other spiritual rituals. The stone was called Itzli in Ancient Mexican cultures, which translates to “god of stone”, and was used to produce weapons and tools. Today, obsidian is also used to create sharp knives or blades and to construct jewelry and other ornamental items.


Meaning of the Obsidian Color

As with black, obsidian is a mysterious color, and the meaning of the color is closely related to the rock or stone itself. Obsidian has a reflective surface, which is said to help aid with introspective efforts. This means it reflects or helps you discover your true self, which can aid in emotional and mental well-being. The stone is something that can provide clarity, helping to remove any emotional and physical obstacles. Obsidian, therefore, aids in encouraging detoxification and can improve personal growth.

The stone is also said to be grounding and helps shield from any negativity. Another benefit of the black obsidian stone is that it brings good luck, especially related to wealth.



Variations of the Obsidian Color

The obsidian we chose has warm undertones and most closely represents the obsidian stone. However, other options have cooler undertones. There is an obsidian purple and blue, which can be used instead of the original color. Each one of these colors has a unique obsidian color code.

Even though an actual blue obsidian does exist, as we mentioned, it is very rare.

So, the blue obsidian here is a popular paint color. The obsidian with a purple undertone is simply another color you might come across online with the same name as obsidian. Other similar colors can also include shale, meteorite, graphite, and black beauty, among others.

Obsidian Color Shades

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Obsidian#3a322d0, 14, 22, 7758, 50, 45 
Obsidian (Purple)#2e293a21, 29, 0, 7746, 41, 58 
Obsidian (Blue)#44505520, 6, 0, 6768, 80, 85 
Shale#4a3f410, 15, 12, 7174, 63, 65 
Meteorite#3f3b3b0, 6, 6, 7563, 59, 59 
Graphite#41424c14, 13, 0, 7065, 66, 76 
Black Beauty#3937360, 4, 5, 7857, 55, 54 



What Colors Go With Obsidian?

Pure black is considered neutral, along with white and gray, and generally works well with all colors. However, as is the case with obsidian, you will notice an undertone, which will dictate what colors work best with obsidian. We are going to be focusing on the warm-toned obsidian. The below color combinations are determined by color theory and how the various hues are positioned on what is known as the color wheel. Black, white, and gray, being neutrals, cannot be found on the color wheel. So, gray and white are some of the best colors to pair with obsidian.

Pastel colors and hues with similar tones are also on top of the list; however, you can also consider more vibrant options. When it comes to undertones, it means there is a specific hue present, which can be found on the color wheel.

The obsidian we are using has a warm orange undertone. This will pair great with various shades of blue or blue-green, which will create a slight contrast. Colors that are positioned opposite one another on the color wheel are called complementary colors. A medium bluish-gray like livid blue will go nicely with the obsidian color, and a blue-green-like teal can also work with the obsidian color.

Rare Obsidian Color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Obsidian#3a322d0, 14, 22, 7758, 50, 45 
Livid Blue#6699cc50, 25, 0, 20102, 153, 204 
Teal #008080100, 0, 0, 500, 128, 128 


Analogous Colors

Complementary colors are quite popular if you want to create contrast, however, other options produce a more harmonious look. Colors that share similar characteristics and are grouped close together on the color wheel are known as analogous. Since orange is the color we are working with, other warm shades of red and yellow will work.

We have chosen softer shades to match the obsidian, but you can also try pairing more vibrant color options to create a more eye-catching obsidian color palette.

Analogous Obsidian Color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Obsidian#3a322d0, 14, 22, 7758, 50, 45 
Blush#bc544b0, 55, 60, 26188, 84, 75 
Flax#eedc820, 8, 45, 7238, 220, 130 


Monochromatic Colors

To create a look that provides depth and is easy on the eyes, consider creating a monochromatic obsidian color palette. This is also one of the easiest color combinations as you only use a single color. In this case, it will be darker and lighter shades of obsidian. However, since obsidian is already a dark shade, you can choose various lighter shades.

Monochromatic Obsidian Color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Obsidian#3a322d0, 14, 22, 7758, 50, 45 
Medium Shade Obsidian#8775690, 13, 22, 47135, 117, 105 
Light Obsidian#bdb1a90, 6, 11, 26189, 177, 169 


Triadic Colors

This color combination also provides contrast with three colors. On the color wheel, the combination is represented by a triangle form that has equal sides. Since we are looking at orange, the options will include a shade of violet and cyan. Again, to match the tone of obsidian, below are examples of softer shades of cyan and violet.

Triadic Obsidian color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Obsidian#3a322d0, 14, 22, 7758, 50, 45 
Pearl Aqua#88d8c037, 0, 11, 15136, 216, 192 
Mauve#e0b0ff12, 31, 0, 0224, 176, 255 



How to Mix Acrylic Paint to Create an Obsidian Color

There are obsidian paint color options that already come in a paint tube. However, the color might not be exactly what you are looking for. To have more control over the paint color outcome, it is always best to mix paint colors yourself from scratch. When experimenting with color mixing, it is also advisable to create and keep a color palette with all your results. This is to make sure that, in the future, you know what paints you use and in what proportions.

To create an obsidian color with acrylic paint, you can try mixing black, white, and orange or a rose red paint color. The rose red is a softer pinkish shade of red that will produce something close to the purple obsidian, while the orange will produce a dark brown.

Obsidian Color Paint

First, place two parts white down onto your mixing palette. Take a tiny drop of black and mix this with the white. Take one part of the red or orange and add it to your mixture. Blend and add a little more black to reach a darker color. Experiment with the proportions to get a color that you think is closest to obsidian. You can also play around with different undertones, such as blue or green if you are looking for something different.



Obsidian Color Palettes for the Home

The obsidian color is a moody, mysterious, and rich color that can add a touch of sophistication to any room in the home. The tone can easily hold both warm and cool colors, so it is quite versatile and easy to use. You not only get obsidian color fabrics and paint, but you can also incorporate real obsidian that can be found in things like mirrors, sculptures, and countertops. If you look after it properly, obsidian will last for many years.

An obsidian color palette can fit into most interior styles, including traditional and more modern ideas.

Obsidian can be paired with neutral hues to create contrast and bring in a more modern look or paired with lighter pastels to provide a more subtle and soothing look. You might also want to look into using more vibrant hues to create an unexpected airy ambiance, especially when paired with white and brought in as an accent color. The obsidian adds a balance and grounding feel to the look.


Obsidian Color in the Kitchen

The main trend in the kitchen is to have obsidian color kitchen cabinets. The dark color brings a more contemporary and fresher look. Obsidian is a softer version of black and helps to add a more subtle dark look that has less of a dramatic effect. Light floors and ceilings provide a more clean look. You can also bring in metallics like copper and natural woods to help elevate the complete look.

Obsidian countertops in the kitchen are also an option.

Obsidian Color Kitchen

Once complete, the obsidian countertop is aesthetically pleasing and extremely durable. Since the stone is made from volcanic materials, you can easily place hot items on the surface without problems. There is very little maintenance needed and the countertop will last a long time.


Obsidian Color in the Bedroom

The most important thing about choosing a dark color palette for the bedroom is to make sure you have enough natural light. A dark room can even help you to fall asleep and keep sleeping for longer. Obsidian is a great choice as it is not as harsh as black and provides a softer look. Darker colors like obsidian are also less energetic and can help provide a calming atmosphere. If you paint the walls obsidian, make sure to bring in lighter contrasting colors like white, off-white, or lighter shades of gray. You can also include pops of color to draw attention and create a more appealing look.

If painting the walls obsidian seems a bit extreme, you can simply create an accent wall or bring in the obsidian color as an accent. The color is perfect to help ground a more colorful color scheme.

Obsidian Color Bedrooms


Obsidian Color in the Bathroom

A bathroom is usually a smaller space and is often done in lighter color schemes. However, a darker obsidian color palette can offer a more dramatic, elegant, and unique look. There are various obsidian tiling options you can use. Consider a dark obsidian floor with white walls and a white bathtub, or obsidian walls and white floors and ceiling to provide contrast. You can also have obsidian countertops in the bathroom in an otherwise neutral color palette. Again, you can put in obsidian cupboards that will provide a contrast against a lighter background.

If you do go all out with obsidian walls, make sure to have enough natural and artificial lighting in the bathroom.

Obsidian Color Bathrooms


Obsidian Color in Living Areas

Darker color schemes for living areas tend to provide a cozier and more intimate look. The dark color palette also helps to create more interest and provides a more sophisticated feel about it. Just remember to create a balanced look, otherwise, a dark look can become a bit too overwhelming. You can do this by including white and lighter shades of color. Also, remember that lighting is important in a dark space.

You can go for an obsidian wall color but bring in some white trim and other lighter accessories, such as a beige color chair or rug. Again, metallics and natural wood elements can help to elevate the look.

Obsidian Color Living Room

If painting the walls obsidian is too much, use it as an accent color. Dark obsidian cushions or a throw will contrast nicely on a beige or white couch. You can also have an obsidian-patterned rug that can create a focus point in a neutral-colored room. Paint an accent wall obsidian or add texture by putting in a thin brick wall in obsidian color.



Popular Obsidian Paint Colors

There are different types of obsidian paint you can purchase from various paint manufacturers. Below are three examples from two of the more well-known manufacturers in the United States. The below examples all have different undertones. The Sherwin Williams obsidian has a bluish undertone, along with PPG Industries obsidian. The second Sherwin Williams color, obsidian glass, has a greenish undertone, while the Benjamin Moore paint color has a warm reddish undertone.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Sherwin Williams (Obsidian)#33343e18, 16, 0, 7651, 52, 62 
Sherwin Williams (Obsidian Glass)#62655f3, 0, 6, 6098, 101, 95 
PPG Industries (Obsidian)#44505520, 6, 0, 6768, 80, 85 
Benjamin Moore (Velvet Cloak)#3829300, 27, 14, 7856, 41, 48 


Obsidian is one of the more obscure colors that you do not often see in designs. However, being a softer version of black, it tends to be more soothing and you can use it to create an appealing and elegant design. The obsidian color is also versatile and works best with other neutrals and soft hues.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Color Is Obsidian?

The obsidian color that represents the igneous rock or volcanic stone can be described as being black with a warm reddish undertone. The stone itself is glossy and reflective. However, you can also get obsidian colors that mostly have green, blue, or yellow undertones. 


What Colors Go With Obsidian?

If the obsidian color is jet-black, it will go with any color. However, many of the obsidian paint colors or graphic colors have various undertones. The color combination that you can create will then depend on the undertone. White, gray, and other neutrals are the options that often work best with obsidian.


What Is the Most Unique Obsidian Color?

A rare type of rock in geology is known as fire obsidian. This form of obsidian contains iridescent colors and patterns, making it the most unique obsidian color found. This occurs due to the presence of magnetite within the rock or glass stone. A sample was found in southeast Oregon in the United States and is the only area so far where you will find this rare rock type.


Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “Obsidian Color – Exploring the Mystique of Obsidian Shades.” Art in Context. December 5, 2023. URL: https://artincontext.org/obsidian-color/

Lewis, C. (2023, 5 December). Obsidian Color – Exploring the Mystique of Obsidian Shades. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/obsidian-color/

Lewis, Charlene. “Obsidian Color – Exploring the Mystique of Obsidian Shades.” Art in Context, December 5, 2023. https://artincontext.org/obsidian-color/.

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