What is Helenite?


Often confused for other jewels, helenite is a man-made gemstone, popular for displaying emerald-like color with a good refractive index. A beautiful and inexpensive alternative to gemstones like emerald, Russian diopside and peridot, helenite is also known as “emerald obsidianite,” or “Mount St. Helens obsidian” for displaying properties similar to obsidian.

 
 
Helenite floral cluster ring.helenite heart pendant with chain.Helenite set of rings for women.Helenite ring in sterling silver.Helenite Logo
 

Determining Helenite Value

Is helenite valuable? The value of colored stones is typically determined by a combination of its color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. This is no different when determining what helenite is worth. These guidelines will help you choose helenite stones for your collection.

  • Helenite Color

Helenite can be found in deeper shades of blue and even red, but it is the green shade which is most common and prized. The presence of chromium traces in the material lends this beautiful hue to helenite.

When choosing helenite, the stone’s color is most important. Gemstones with a deep saturation of color and less inclusions are highly sought after and commands a higher price in today’s market.

  • Helenite Clarity

Helenite occurs as transparent to translucent gems. This man-made gemstone sometime develops bubble inclusions. But, due to its deeply saturated color, the gemstone appears eye clean when viewed without magnification.

Inclusions are accepted in this colorful gemstone. However, a large amount of inclusions will decrease the value of helenite.

  • Helenite Cut

While helenite is comparatively a fragile gemstone, skilled lapidaries can shape it. Helenite is available in traditional ovals, rounds, cushions and marquise, but fancy shapes can also be found. The gemstone displays an exceptional visibility in concave cut.

  • Helenite Carat

Accessibility to Mount St. Helens ash makes helenite available in a variety of sizes.

Helenite of 0.85 carat weight is readily available, making this a great choice for anyone wanting this green gemstone jewelry. The value of the gemstone increases with larger sizes. However, other factors such as color and clarity also play an important role in determining the price of the stone.

Helenite Treatment

Helenite is a man-made gemstone. It is formed by heating volcanic ash fromMount St. Helens to 2700 degrees Fahrenheit in a high-temperature furnace followed by rapid cooling. The treatment is permanent and stable. However, the stone should not be exposed to sudden changes of extreme heat or cold.

Caring for Helenite

Helenite ranks between 5.5 and 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it more susceptible to abrasion or scratches.

Ultrasonic cleaning and commercial chemical cleaners should be avoided for cleaning this gemstone. It should not be exposed to sudden changes of extreme heat or cold.

When cleaning helenite, use lukewarm soapy water and soft bristled brush for gently scrubbing. Rinse with fresh, cool water, and dry with a soft cloth.

Avoid exposure to cosmetics, hairspray, perfume or household chemicals. Like pearls, make it the last thing you put on and the first thing you remove.

Helenite should be stored separately from other types of gemstones or gemstone jewelry to protect them from accidental damage.

Who Can Wear Helenite?

This colorful gemstone is a perfect choice for those looking for freshness, hope and harmony. An ideal gemstone for complementing summer and winter fashion, lovers of green will want to add this gemstone to their personal collection.

With intense green-hues, helenite gems and jewelry pair with any outfit, day or night. They match seamlessly with most metal tones but looks brilliant when paired with gold or silver hues. It can be worn in many forms such as earrings, pendants, necklaces, brooches, and pins. However, a helenite ring should be limited to occasional wear with protective-style settings as the stone can easily get scratched.

How Does Helenite Compare to Other Green Stones?

Helenite is sometimes compared to emerald in color, and it’s easy to see why. However, emerald favors bluish tinges in their green coloration, making it appear serene and regal, whereas the helenite favors deep green tones, making the gem appear more intense.

In general, helenite bridges the gap between emerald and Russian diopside. It occupies the center point between these two popular gemstone, providing a wonderful balance of light and intense color. Anyone who loves green emerald, Russian diopside or other green gems will appreciate the energizing glow of helenite.

Where Does Helenite Come From?

Shop LC sources its helenite from Washington, USA. True helenite is only created from the ashes of the Mount St. Helens eruption.

One of the major limitations of procurement is the distance of ash stockpiles from existing markets. As the stockpiles are located far from the homes of industry, the transportation costs are high. Also, the residents of the areas with ash landfills do not want the ash to be resurrected as it could cause problems with dust entering the air.

In addition, the counties and municipalities with ash landfills are reluctant to deal with the legal problems of ash ownership. If an industry purchased the ash, the question would be raised as to who is entitled to payment, and who would assume liability.

How is Helenite Mined?

Helenite is a man-made gemstone made of volcanic glass that comprises of the ash from the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens, in May of 1980.

Helenite was first created accidentally after the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Workers from the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company were attempting to salvage equipment damaged after the volcanic eruption, using acetylene torches. They discovered that the torch could melt the volcanic ash into a green glass.

After laboratory experiments it was determined that a transparent to translucent green glass could be reproduced by heating ash to 2700 degrees Fahrenheit in a high-temperature furnace followed by rapid cooling.

Helenite Properties

Is Helenite a Birthstone?

Helenite is not recognized as a modern birthstone. However, the resemblance of the gemstone to emerald makes it a viable substitute for the modern May birthstone.

Helenite Facts

  • Helenite ranks between 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
  • Helenite is available in variety of colors like green, red and blue.
  • Helenite is sourced from Washington, USA.
  • Helenite is a man-made glass.
  • Helenite is also known as Mount St. Helens obsidian, emerald obsidianite and ruby obsidianite.