Libyan Desert Glass Origin & Physical Properties

Libyan Desert Glass Tektite is one of only two gem-grade Tektites on the planet. Tektites are a family of stones that formed by meteorites which collided with earth and ejected material into the upper atmosphere, which then fell back to earth as impact glasses. Natural fragments of Libyan desert glass are found in an area that stretches for many square kilometers along the eastern border of Libya and west Egypt.

Libyan Desert Glass has colors like that of its sandy source material of nearly pure silica, ranging from light yellow to deep golden color tones. Scientists date its formation to approximately 29 million years ago. It was formed in temperatures above 1600 C. When specimens have been studied, their are unusual high temperature minerals including cristobalite, a rare form of quartz, as well as grains of zirconia.

Another important mineral found in abundance in Libyan Desert Glass that gives a clew to its cosmic origin is Lechatelierite. This is a rare form of silica which is only formed at extremely high temperatures. Recently, a 31 kilometer wide impact crater was discovered in Egypt which appears to coincide with the formation of Libyan Desert Glass. It is called the Kebira Crater.

Libyan Desert Glass is still relatively unknown and hard to procure. As a gemstone, it has a hardness similar to quartz, in the range of 6.5 - 7 Mohs. Because it is 95% silica and has good translucency, it can be cut and polished. Beautiful swirling patterns of Lechatelierite and inclusions of zirconia and cristobilite define its unique appearance and tell-tale cosmic origins.

Category Properties

Chemical Composition

SiO2 (95% Silica + Al,Ca,Fe,K,Mg,Mn,Na,Ti)

Mohs Hardness 

6.5 - 7.0



Specific Gravity

2.2 - 2.65

Refractive Index




Crystal System



Transparent to translucent


Yellow, almost colorless


Western Desert of Egypt near Lybia


Solar Plexus (3rd)


Aries, Cancer


Fire, Wind

Metaphysical Effects

Protection, creativity, grounding, Joy, inner strength, manifestation, potential, personal power

Libyan Desert Glass Healing & Metaphysical Properties

Libyan Desert Glass History & Mythology

The use of Libyan Desert Glass tektites  dates back many millennia, with Paleolithic tools like knife blades and spear tips found in abundance throughout the Saharan Desert. According to some estimates, around 10% of specimens found show signs of being worked by prehistoric humans.

The most famous relic discovered is a scarab carved in Libyan glass set in an elaborate breastplate found in Tutankhamen's tomb. Clearly, this stone was treasured above all others since it was used as the centerpiece for such an important relic. Ancient Egyptians called this stone “rock of the God”

King Tut’s tomb was first discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter, but it wasn’t until 1998 that the scarab center stone was properly identified as Libyan Desert Glass. The scarab represented the sun god Ra and the Egyptians clearly saw this golden glass as a physical manifestation of their chief deity’s great power.