#17 - Hawaii Has Gems Too!

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2018 at 7:52 pm by LaLonde Jewelers

When we think of Hawaii, we think of sandy beaches, palm trees, the moon over the South Pacific, and warm trade winds. Right now as you read this, Kilauea volcano is erupting. What a lot of people don’t know is there are gems coming out of the volcano!

One thing that crystalizes is sulfur. When they talk of toxic gases that emit from volcanoes, sulfur is one of them. It comes out in a mist and like atoms will attach to each other and form crystals. These have a rotten egg odor that is very strong but dissipates over time. I have owned such crystals that were in abundance on the slopes of Hawaii’s volcanoes.

In some areas, the vents are still active with mist. Locals put wood planks over the openings and use them as saunas, with the sulfur acting as light treatments for supposed healing qualities.

Also coming out of the volcanoes is a form of natural glass called obsidian. Obsidian is the solidifying of lava ash under heat. Visually black or grey, it can also have a golden sheen if enough gas bubbles are present.

The ancients used obsidian to make tips for arrows and spears, because it is easy to get a very sharp edge.

But olivine is the main gem. The first European explorers, Captain Cook, saw a dormant volcano with shimmering crystals on its slopes. They named it Diamond Head, knowing that diamonds came out of volcanoes. The Hawaiian name for Diamond Head is Le’Ahi which derives from “lae” meaning browbridge, and “ahi” the dorsal fin of an Ahi tuna. Diamonds form in kimberlite ground, which won’t occur in Hawaiian volcanoes. What does form is olivine. These small olivine crystals are very light. Erosion and windswept beaches cause the olivine to congregate and gather in isolated beach areas where they form a swirl of green shimmering crystals. If you happen to be in the right spot at the right time and the sun is shining at the right angle, you will see an amazing phenomenon. I have!

Now, I have held the olivine crystals, smelled the sulfur, and cut my fingers on these obsidian spears. Fantastic stuff.

You know this is how the Earth was made and how it is still growing. Remember, don’t think of volcanoes as destruction. Think that the Earth is alive! As the Earth grows, you will see more green beaches, smell more rotten egg smells, and find more obsidian to make sharp spears with.

Written by Daniel J. LaLonde

© LaLonde Jewelers 2018