More than 585 acres of fresh lava has poured from the earth in Hawaii during the summer of 2018, not only damaging properties on the surface of the island, but altering the coast as well by filling in a bay on the island’s east edge. That’s a lot of raw material that could, given enough time, create some beautifully distinct gemstones.

Long ago – very long ago – rhyolitic lava flowed in other parts of the very active earth. In many, water formed gas pockets, leaving silica deposits. The resulting spherical rocks became known as thunder eggs. The variety of colors and compositions are due to the mixture of elements from the original magma and dissolved materials the magma absorbs. The colors and mineral combinations in each thunder egg’s interior covers the entire spectrum.

First – why “thunder egg”? Apparently, Native Americans in Oregon named the stones, believing that rival spirits caused thunder by throwing these stones at each other from their homes on Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood. Many of the North American thunder eggs can be found near the peaks, so maybe there’s some truth to that idea.

Our Cold Mountain Thunder Egg strands are made from such rock. Each of our 16-inch strands features the colors of wood, sand, ice and ash. Looking closely at a strand reveals even splashes of maroon and flashes of lime green, remnants of trace chemicals present when the stone formed. As mottled and crackled the colors are, the polished rounds shine and sparkle, making each stone a unique little treasure.

There are rockhounds out there who search specifically for thunder eggs. Both can be found in areas far off the marked trails, around depressions in the land where others haven’t thought to look. One expanse of volcanic ash-layered land in the Colorado Desert is known as the “potato patch” because of the large number of the round spheroids with the colorful centers. It has supplied rockhounds with finds for decades.


CMTE Agate & Sunset Dumortierite design by Kayla Waletzke

So now that the fresh lava has moved across the island of Hawaii – causing vast damage and destruction, as such a dynamic natural event can often do – the rock begins the long process of cooling and hardening. Thunder egg hunters will have a while to wait before they can harvest these shiny miracles to crack them open to see the colors and patterns each has formed within.

If you’re in more of a hurry, we have them in stock this week!

- Jeff S.


Sue Johnson

Date 7/23/2018

Thank you so much for your blog info! I've known of Thunder Eggs, but, haven't even thought of them in bead form. Not sure just where I've been....Thanks again!

Bonnie VanScoter

Date 7/23/2018

Thank you for the very interesting and educational explanation for the formation of thunder egg agates. As a retired Earth science teacher and jewelry making hobbyist, I really appreciated this article. Please continue writing this kind of article. I occasionally donate a piece of jewelry that I have made from natural gemstones to a fund raising event. I always try to include some information about the stones in the necklace so I am keeping a copy of this article for future reference. Thank you, keep up the good work!

Kimberly Crawford

Date 7/24/2018

Fantastic article Jeff. CMTE's are stunningly's like opening a present on Christmas Day. Thanks for another perspective re: what is going on in Hawaii. Thoughts & prayers, of course, to those experiencing this natural phenomenon. (Trust me, I know what it's like to live in a natural disaster's path..I live in Hurricane country).

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