Rare Gems and Minerals in Hawaii

Hawaii has the least variety of gems and minerals than any state in the U.S.

Why you ask?

This island state is geologically very young, a result of a chain of underwater volcanoes that eventually grew out of the Pacific Ocean resulting in the islands that exist today. And while the island is certainly fascinating from a geological perspective, aside from a few notable exceptions, there arenít a whole lot of minerals to collect in in Hawaii. That isnít to say there arenít things that you can collect through. Here are a few ideas.


The famous green beaches on the Island of Oahu are a result of the mineral peridot. Small particles comprise the beach sands, but large peridot specimens are rare.

Peridot can be cut into beautiful green gemstones, but pieces large enough for this are almost never found in Hawaii. Most of the peridot that you find for sale at rock shops and in jewelry shops in Hawaii are imported from Arizona.


Obsidian forms when lava cools, and is a dark volcanic glass. Many people assume that obsidian would be abundant in Hawaii because of all the volcanic activity, but actually it is only sourced from one location on the north side of the Hualalai Volcano.

Black Coral

Black coral is the official state gem of Hawaii. A wide variety of corals add to the marine life found in the reefs of the Hawaiian Island. They are living creatures that have a dark black skeleton that can be used for jewelry.

They are extremely slow growing, so concerns about overharvest are an issue. Jewelry made from black coral is very popular and can be quite expensive, depending on the quality and the species used.


Due to the young geological existence of Hawaii, there is a fairly limited fossil record in this state. Fossils that have been found here are relatively young and common species of coral, mussels, and mollusks. Some fish fossils and prehistoric bird bones have also been found in select locations.


Beachcombing is probably the best way to search for treasure in Hawaii. There are countless varieties of seashells that can be found on Hawaiiís beaches. A few of the more popular types that are popular to collect are Tritonís trumpet, horned helmet shells, sunrise shells and cowrey shells.

Shells are not always lying up on the beach sands. To the contrary, you may need to snorkel out into the surf to find the best shells that arenít broken or already picked up by tourists.

When collecting seashells, be certain that the shells are empty and abandoned. You can get in trouble if you harvest sea life that is still living and protected.