Having studied mineralogy in Landshut, he became professor of mineralogy in 1826 at the University of Münich. In 1855 he invented the stauroscope for the study of the optical properties of crystals. Author of numerous scientific papers, he described many new minerals.
The mineral Kobellite is named for him.
Besides his work as mineralogist he is also famous for writing a lot of short stories and poems in the Bavarian dialect of Upper Bavaria. His best known work is the base for a popular Bavarian theater play named "Der Brandner Kasper", which tells the story of a black smith from Tegernsee, who is visited by the grim reaper and tricks him into drinking and gambling for some further years on earth. This play is televised each year before All Saint's day by the Bavarian Broadcasting Agency (Bayerischer Rundfunk).
See also: List of mineralogists