I happened to interview someone a few months ago who I think is very
knowledgeable about Canary Island lava. (He sells lava beads,
however, so I can’t guarantee impartiality.) His name is Roberto
Sutter. He’s in Switzerland, running a company called Horizonte, and
collects the lava every year with his wife.
You might find useful some of the answers that he provided by e-mail
to my questions:
We started selling beads made from Lava from Indonesia in 2001.
However, we were not satisfied with the quality of this lava. It
was too porous and scratched on the skin. Also the color was
mostly brownish or dark gray, never black. As black is a much
more attractive colour to be used in jewelry than gray, and since
we will never dye our materials (different from the imitations of
our lava beads made by some Chinese companies) we started looking
for a new source of naturally black Lava, which we found on the
We specialize in unusual materials, which often have never been
used in jewelry, which many of them have a story to be told.
Lava, specially our naturally black Lava from the Canary Islands,
has a very nice texture ( porosity ) and it's got a very smooth
good feel, much different from lava from Indonesia or other
locations. Beside, it is quite interesting to wear a piece of
jewelry " which once came out of a volcano".
The main difficulty working with lava is not so much to
manufacture the beads or rings, the tools used are the same as
those we use when producing our products made of precious stones,
but to find the raw material. We can not order this material from
anywhere. There is nobody selling it. Therefore we fly to the
Canary Islands ourselves once a year, this is me and my wive
Andrea, who today is the chief designer in our company, where we
stay for two weeks gathering pieces of naturally black lava. The
problem is, that 99 % of lava is gray and not black, even on the
Canary islands. So we spend a lot of our personal time in order
to find this 1% of really natural black lava.
Although lava isn't quite as hard as precious or semi precious
stones, we can produce similar designs we make with our other
materials. Because of the porosity of lava, small shapes don't
come out very well, so we use our CANARY ISLAND LAVA mostly for
larger beads, which is our specialty anyway"
Since we have introduced our CANARY ISLAND LAVA to the market,
it has been great success. As some Chinese some companies started
invading the market with cheap copies of dyed lava, we thought
our sales might decrease. This was not the case though. Our
customers clearly note the difference and are willing to pay the
price for the quality of our product. Today our lava beads are
still one of our best selling products.
This is his contact
Spittelgasse # 32
Bueren an der Aare
Phone : + 41 (32) 353 73 16
Fax : + 41 (32) 351 02 31
Phone USA : (213) 985 12 10