Featuring Mount St. Helens Emerald Jewelry (Obsidianite, Helenite )

The Stone: On May 18, 1980 Mount Saint Helen's erupted with the explosive force of 500 atomic bombs leveling 200
square miles. Thirteen hundred feet of earth was blown from the top of the mountain, sending a cloud of ash more
then 60,000 feet into the air and eventually circling the earth.  From this volcanic ash and rock is created Mount St
Helen's Jewelry, a fused silica similar to obsidian, with the natural color of the evergreen forests that once
surrounded the mountain. These memories and colors are preserved for eternity in hand cut stones set in exquisite
jewelry.  

Creation: This striking green stone was created, under conditions of high heat and pressure, from the pulverized
rock which came from 15 to 20 miles inside the Earth and expelled by the volcanic eruption from Mount St. Helens,
Washington.  This beautiful jewelry looks like emerald and is a  deep green, brilliant, light catching stone - what you
would wish a true Emerald would look like, if you could afford it !  It is truly stunning!   The gemstones that are
created today have come from material blown out of the mountain in the 1980’s.  Some of the richest colors were
from the 1981 and mid-80’s eruptions.   The color of Emerald Obsidianite comes from trace elements that are
naturally found in the volcanic rock including chromium, iron and copper that create the rich emerald color when
fused at temperatures near 2700 F.

Similar Volcanic Gems: Mount St. Helens Obsidianite is a distant relative to both Lassenite – obsidian from the
vicinity of Lassen Peak, California, and Fire obsidian - iridescent obsidian from Glass Buttes, Oregon.  It is also
related to Hawaiian Olivine, a light green volcanic stone that can be found on the beaches of Hawaii and is naturally
created from the Hawaiian volcanoes.   Olivine is called “Peridot” when found in gemstone quality.  Interestingly
enough Olivine and Peridot are the only gemstone found in meteorites making up as much as 50% of a meteorites
mass and have also been detected on the moon and mars.  Perhaps the studies suggesting Mount St. Helens is tied
to the origin of the earth have a basis in fact?  

Volcanoes are an incubator for many of the World’s treasures.  Other gems commonly associated with volcanic
origins include Emerald, Diamond, Garnet, Peridot, and Topaz.  Hot-water or hydrothermal solutions that emanate
from magmas can crystallize a variety of minerals as the solution moves upward into cooler environments. Metallic
ores containing gold, silver, tin, lead, zinc, and copper can originate in this way as can emeralds and other gems.  It
is no surprise that Mount St. Helens has proven gold and copper deposits on its flanks. When lava cools quickly,
termed “quench cooling”, there is no time for mineral crystals to form, and result is volcanic obsidian.  When this
quench is performed under controlled lab-conditions it is called “obsidianite.”  

The Discovery: After the 1980 eruption Weyerhaeuser Timber Company undertook a massive recovery effort to
salvage its equipment damaged by the eruption.  As workers used acetylene torches to cut apart the twisted metal
they noticed the grey ash was melting and turning a greenish color.  The pulverized volcanic rock, rich with silica,
aluminum and iron with traces of chromium and copper was melting into a form of obsidianite.   Using that
information, it was only a matter of time before the first Emerald Obsidianite stones were created.  The resulting
emerald colored stone has excellent refraction (sparkle) and quartz-like durability.  This disaster and chance
discovery has left the world with this remarkable legacy of memorable beauty allowing visitors to carry home a
beautiful piece of the volcano as jewelry.  

Color variations: Mount St. Helens Jewelry was originally only offered in a native green but with the addition and
subtraction of trace minerals like chromium, titanium and copper we are now offering additional colors like “St. Helens
Rose” ™ , and our newest color, “Twilite”, which is a beautiful violet/purple blue color similar to Tanzanite.  We
sometimes have reds (Helenite) and blues available.  The red is created by adding trace elements of gold while blue
uses cobalt or more commonly aquamarine silica chip.  We source our gems, settings, and finished jewelry from
several different skilled artisans who use different eruptive period rock specimens and processes which results in the
wide variety of gems you see before you.  Gems fused under the highest pressure and complex processes typically
are the purest though some of our most affordable gems have the color, sparkle and size that many find most
appealing.  
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