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Green Sands

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Big Island Inspiration

Hawaii’s volcanoes have always fascinated me and inspired my work. Watching the lava flow from Kilauea years ago led me to design a line of jewelry that was organic and free flowing, like the Big Island’s most famous resident has been doing for 33 straight years.

Until this trip, though, I had never witnessed the lava actually pouring into the Pacific. To get to the point where Kilauea is adding acreage to planet Earth, you need to walk or bike four miles atop a crushed gravel road from the historic fishing village of Kalapana.

It’s a bit ironic in these days of coastal erosion and disappearing islands to find a spot where land is actually being created. We watched a large plume in the distance and eagerly pedaled toward its source. The National Park Service roped off a viewing area few hundred yards away, but that was close enough to see a torrent of molten orange lava leave the land for its new home in the sea.

The day before riding to the lava flow another Big Island product of volcanic action beckoned, one of only four green sand beaches in the world. Papakolea Beach is a partially collapsed cinder cone full of olivine, a silicate mineral, when of gem quality is better known as Peridot.

Denser than the ash fragments and other rocks drawn out of the cinder cone, the green accumulates on the beach and makes the three-mile hike a very worthy journey.

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