Helenite is an exquisite and vibrant man-made gemstone crafted from volcanic ash from the famous 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State.
Known for stunning and intense colors, Helenite can be found in shades of deep blue and burgundy. However, the dark green variety is the most prevalent and highly prized.
Helenite is created by crushing volcanic ash and rock and fusing it at temperatures as high as 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. Its stunning colors have made Helenite an attractive alternative to rare emerald, ruby or garnet gemstones.
Helenite is named for Mount St. Helens, the Washington volcano famously known for its violent eruption on May 18, 1980. During the cleanup following that catastrophic event, Helenite was born. As workers used acetylene torches to cut through twisted metal debris, they noticed that the gray ash was melting and transforming into a vibrant dark green color. This accidental discovery of Helenite has given the world a stunning volcanic jewel. From this great tragedy came a great beauty.
Crushed volcanic rock and ash, mixed with silica, aluminum, iron, chromium, and copper, melts to form this Helenite. Proprietary pressurization techniques produce its vibrant evergreen, burgundy and dark blue colors. The resulting stone is then hand faceted to create stunning pieces of jewelry. Helenite is easily cut by lapidaries. The resulting jewel possesses excellent refraction.
• A legend told by the Puyallup Indian tribe says that Mount St. Helens was once a beautiful maiden named Loowit. Two sons of the great chief Tahee Sahale fell in love with her. They fought for Loowit's hand, raining a great destruction over the land. Tahee Sahale punished the feuding lovers by destroying them. Where each fell, he raised Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, and Mount Adams.
• Geologists call Mount St. Helens a composite volcano, a term for steep sided, symmetrical cones constructed from alternating layers of lava flows, ash and other volcanic debris. These kinds of volcano tend to have explosive eruptions, as opposed to the gently sloping shield volcanos like those found in Hawaii that ooze fluid lava over great distances.
• On May 18, 1980, following a magnitude 5.1 earthquake, Mount St. Helens erupted violently, destroying nearly 150 square miles of surrounding landscape. The eruption lasted for nine hours and deposited ash in 11 states.
Location: Mount St. Helens
This striking green stone was first created under conditions of high heat and pressure, from the pulverized rock ejected by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The colors of Helenite come from trace elements that are naturally found in volcanic rock, including chromium, iron, and copper, which create the rich emerald color when fused at high temperatures. Others colors can be induced by the introduction of other materials.
- Ranks 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.
- Colors available in transparent shades of deep green blue and red.
- Sourced from Washington USA.
- Also known as Gaia stone Mount St. Helens obsidian emerald obsidianite and ruby obsidianite.
- A man-made stone.