Collecting Minerals in Hawaii

Hawaii Rock and Mineral Show Summer 2024 August 12 & 25, 2024

We get quite a few request via this website about collecting rocks or minerals in Hawai’i while vacationing here. We are quite sure this information is not what you have been hoping for:

As the Mineral Society we recommend you enjoy the beaches, nature and our wonderful people, food and our enchanted environment. There is not really that much to look for when it comes to minerals here, since our islands are geologically very young and mostly made up of different kinds of lava. If you are interested in lava, in all it shapes and colors, you came to the right place, since every island’s lava is unique. Most ‘minerals’ found here are a few millimeters in size anyway and may not what you might have been hoping for by clicking on this link.

If you feel the urge to collect something (besides great memories and photos,) take a stroll along the beaches and look for shells. If you are exceptionally lucky you might find a prized sunrise shell.

Most of us from Hui Pohaku leave the islands if we want to go rock collecting. We know that there are quite a few minerals listed on But: e.g. the Mo‘ili‘ili Quarry listed there (reference from 1933!) has long become part of the University of Hawaii-Manoa parking garage and Special Events Arena and Diamond Head is a State Monument. It is also a sad fact that many collection sites that might have existed in the past and are listed in books or publications are now covered by houses, hotels or are located on private property (with no trespassing posted).

As a word of caution: The internet is full of warnings that Madame Pele, the Goddess of the Hawaiian Volcanoes does not look kindly on removing lava or sand from the Big Island. Please google it, and decide what you make of it. The rest is up to you.

In an effort of scientific fairness many of us living here are quite convinced that the so called “Pele’s Curse” is a modern myth with various origins. Cleverly created decades ago, this myth is perpetuated (by blindly copying and pasting, the favorite sport on the web) by the Internet. Here are just two links (link1 link2) how it might have started in so called ‘modern times’…