Volcanoes have a long and rather violent history, though that’s not a bad thing! Volcanoes are one of the most creative forces of nature, creating islands and generating some of the most fertile soil in the world. They’re also the source of our favorite Lava stones. Lava stones suit just about every type of jewelry, maybe even a key chain if you’re feeling adventurous.
When you think of a mountain losing its temper, you’re probably thinking of a volcano shooting a column of soot and rock into the sky with lava rolling down the sides. You can thank the island of Vulcano and the 79 CE eruption of Mt. Vesuvius for that.
Vulcan: The origin of volcanoes
Vulcano is named for the Roman god Vulcan, which is just the Greek god Hephastus, the black smith of the pantheon. It was believed he owned a forge below the volcano on Vulcano, the earthquakes preceding eruptions caused by him working his forge, and the island was basically his dump. It grew because Vulcan would clean out his forge of all the cinders and ash, depositing it on the sides of the mountain.
Mt. Vesuvius: The inspiration for how you picture volcanoes
In 79 CE, Mt. Vesuvius erupted, covering the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash and pumice, destroying the cities and killing thousands. This was one of the first documented eruptions in history, recorded by Pliny the Younger shortly after the catastrophe. His uncle, Pliny the Elder and author of Naturalis Historia, died in Herculaneum as a result of the eruption. It was the “classic” volcano eruption, with the column of smoke and rolling lava that has invaded movies and TV series. Today, the area around Mt. Vesuvius is considered to be one of the most densely populated areas around an active volcano.
Because of these historical precedents, as well as the natural process of a volcano, Lava stones have come to symbolize creation, raw energy, and fertility. The soil around volcanoes has always been incredibly fertile, lending the area around Mt. Vesuvius, and others, to be used primarily for farming.
Volcanoes erupt due to a build up of pressure, much like a pressure cooker. Instead of having a small release valve to vent off some of that pressure, it keeps building until the “plug” at the mouth of the volcano fails and everything gets a new coating of ash and lava. Depending on the volcano, this can lead to the massive destruction of Mt. Vesuvius, or can be more like a tub overflowing with water, like the lava domes of Mt. St. Helens. Almost all of them leave a deposit of lava that can become the pumice in your bathroom or the Lava stone on your necklace.
Oil Diffusion in Jewelry
Lava stones are generally a type of pumice, they’ve just been shaped into generally uniform spheres to be used for things other than making your skin soft and healthy. Pumice is incredibly porous, meaning there are lots of air bubbles in the stone. Those pockets are created by steam being captured in the stone as it cools and are the secret to turning all of your Lava stones into oil diffusers.
Oil diffusers work by slowly allowing the oil to evaporate over the course of hours or days. Usually, this means drawing oil into a wick of sorts and the oil evaporates into the room. These diffusers tend to last weeks before needing to be replaced. With Lava stones, things get a little more interesting. The oil wicks into all of those pockets and, as you wear it, the oil warms with your body heat. This causes the oil to evaporate over a much shorter time, hours instead of days, but also means the scent will be that much stronger.
How to make an oil diffuser out of your jewelry:
First, choose your oil. It’s recommended that you use pure oils so it doesn’t stain your clothing, just in case. Common scents are citrus or lavender, but any oil will work. Feeling nauseous? Use ginger, it’s a classic remedy to all kinds of tummy troubles, dating back centuries as a cure for seasickness. Feeling tired, bloated, tired of mosquitoes? Use peppermint or spearmint. Can’t sleep? Use sage, it’ll help with insomnia almost as quickly as a good cup of chamomile.
After choosing your oil, or oils, mix them up as you please, just use a Q-tip or your finger to rub oil onto the surface of the bead. It’ll take a couple minutes before all the oil gets absorbed, so leave it alone. Keep adding oil until the bead won’t absorb any more. Rub off any excess with a cloth or paper towel or clean finger. You can put the rest of the oil behind an ear or on your wrist like normal perfume.
Once that’s done, wear your jewelry!
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