Cintamani Stone: Identification, Uses, and Meaning

Cintamani is an ancient stone with a deep lavender or green color that’s mysterious to us compared to others.

While some people classify it as a tektite, or meteorite, others say it’s a form of obsidian, or volcanic glass.

The truth is, neither is correct and no one has solved the mystery satisfactorily.

That said, the Shinto, Hindu and Buddhist religions hold this stone in the highest regard and its name translates to “wishing stone.”

Therefore, it has many spiritual applications and few practical ones.

What Is Cintamani Stone?

Cintamani is an enigmatic gemstone.

Otherwise known as Saffordite, there’s argument in the science world over whether it’s a meteorite or an earth-created crystal.

Some say it’s a type of tektite while others claim is a pseudo-tektite.

Yet there are those who classify it as a type of obsidian.

As Tektite

Some scientific studies of Cintamani reveal that it’s not a tektite in the structural sense.

The makeup and appearance of the stone indicates that it’s likely a volcanic rock that cooled quickly into a glass-like crystalline structure.

However, over millions of years, the stone absorbs water, which causes it to lose its luster.

As Obsidian

This activity results in fractures and rounding that make it look like a tektite.

While all the evidence leans toward it being an obsidian, this isn’t entirely well-founded.

That’s because a strong and very ancient meteoritic impact could also cause it to form this way. Thus, it would be a tektite.

Cintamani Origins

The word, “Cintamani” comes from ancient Sanskrit and Devanagari, the language spoken in India.

It means “wish-fulfilling gem.”

However, Japan, China, Korea and Tibet refer to it “as one wishes precious jewel” or “as one wishes jewel.”

They say the Kintamani Mountains in Bali takes its name from Cintamani.

Where Do You Find Cintamani Stone?

Some people adamantly state Cintamani stone only comes from Arizona, USA.

But there are others who claim you can find it around Bali, Indonesia and the Philippines.

How Do You Identify Cintamani Stone?

Cintamani can be a deep lavender or green color. It has a hardness of 5.5 to 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.

It’s common for the stone to have a curvature with smooth edges and shaped like a naturally tumbled stone.

Sharp edges are a rare occurrence.

Saffordites are often in the shape of cups with a naturally carved pit.

Some are crystal clear when held up to light while others are translucent rather than clear.

Yet some have bands or can be opaque. 

The best way to identify a Cintamani stone, however is if light easily passes through.

In your hand, it will be black and appear rather dull.

But, if you put it up to a strong, powerful illumination, it will sparkle and glisten.

Can You Confuse Cintamani Stone with Other Materials?

For those who’ve happened upon Cintamani stone in the desert of Arizona, they say it looks just like a regular old black rock.

But, others have seen it as a type of obsidian.

In regards to obsidian, it very much has the same appearance and structure.

Because it shares similarities with Moldavite, which is a tektite, it can have the same green appearance and they have the same Mohs rating.

But Moldavite isn’t as smooth and is always dark green.

For What Do People Use the Cintamani Stone?

Cintamani stone’s use is almost always for religious or spiritual purposes.

For a stone as ancient as this in a world dominated by advancement in mineralogy, one would think there’s more technical data available. 

Aside from the spiritual implications, most people simply collect them or use them in jewelry.

Any other practical uses are either not available to the public or are just unknown.

What Is the Meaning of the Cintamani Stone?

The meaning of the Cintamani stone will depend on which religion or culture you’re referring to.

Because most eastern philosophies and religions have an intrinsic connection to the stone, they will have the most poignant.

It’s akin to something like the Philosopher’s Stone in western alchemy.

General Buddhism

While all Buddhists believe it has the power to grant wishes and is a heavenly gift, there are subtle differences between sects.

One says that it came to earth millions of years ago from the star Sirius. It was a gift from the heavens so that King Sanat Kumar and his priests could establish a perfect civilization of peace.

Yet another Buddhist belief says Cintamani was in the possession of the Bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara and Ksitigarbha.

These two are notorious for their mercy, wisdom and compassion.

Tibetan Buddhism

The Tibetan Buddhists believe that Cintamani is one of the four relics delivered in a chest from the sky during King Lha Thothori Nyantsen’s reign.

The king kept them as sacred relics although he had no idea what to do with them.

Some years after, two strangers came to his court and explained they were messengers of Dharma to Tibet.

In fact, the Cintamani stone appears on the Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags depicting Lung Ta, or wind horse.

The hymn they have for the stone, called Dharani, will retain Buddha’s wisdom, truth and message. 


In Hinduism, however, it’s connected to the gods Ganesha and Visnu with depictions of them holding it or having it set in their foreheads.

There’s even a story in the Yoga Vasistha telling about Cintamani from the 10th century AD that says it bestows prosperity upon the owner.


In Japanese Shintoism, Cintamani is of high value.

They have imported several Hindu deities over the centuries such as Avalokiteshvara and Lakshmi.

These two almost always have a Cintamani in their hand.

However, Avalokitesvara is another manifestation of the goddess Kanon, or Kwan-yin, who also holds the stone.


Cintamani has a host of spiritual uses that accompany many legends and myths from the East.

So, while we don’t have much mineralogical information about it, studying what these cultures believe might be the key.

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