How Lava Rock Diffusers Became the Coolest Way to Make Your Space Smell Amazing

There’s no shortage of people who love burning scented candles, but those with children or pets might think of them as too hazardous to keep lit. Diffusers, which provide a steady release of fragrance without the need for monitoring, are a great alternative. And one of the latest trends in home fragrance, the volcanic rock diffuser, is bringing a new aesthetic to the practice of making your space smell amazing.

Such diffusers, which often use pure essential oils, can offer therapeutic benefits through aromatherapy and promote relaxation, focus, and even energy. And a number of boundary-pushing brands are increasingly turning to this organic material, both for its ruggedly beautiful aesthetic and its natural porosity, to create innovative and eco-friendly diffusers.

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Lumira's Sphera diffuser is encased in a smoked glass jar, allowing you to stop scenting your space whenever you're ready.
Lumira’s Sphera diffuser is encased in a smoked glass jar, allowing you to stop scenting your space whenever you’re ready.

Volcanic rock is formed from solidified lava. It is highly porous, making it an excellent medium for diffusing essential oils, and provides a long-lasting fragrance experience that gently fills the air over time.

“The idea for using lava rock in a diffuser came from its natural porous properties, which make it perfect for absorbing and slowly releasing essential oils,” says Almira Armstrong, founder of Lumira. “I was inspired by the need for a sustainable, reusable, and aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional diffusers.”

Beyond aesthetics, volcanic rock is a non-polluting material, aligning with the growing consumer demand for environmentally conscious and non-toxic products. And some consumers have warmed to them because of recent studies showing adverse health effects of burning some types of wax candles.

“Our sourcing process for both the lava rock and the fragrances is guided by a commitment to quality, sustainability, and ethical practices,” Armstrong says. “For the lava rock, we carefully selected suppliers who harvest the rock from natural volcanic sources in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Lumira’s lava rock diffusers come in the form of its Sphera sets, which feature smoky hand-blown glass-lidded orbs, filled with chunks of the stone. After placing drops of its Essenza oil on the volcanic stones inside, the company recommends allowing the stones to infuse with the oil for a day. Releasing the lid will diffuse your chosen scent through the air, and you can replace the lid once your space is perfumed to your liking. It’s a simple application, though one that creates a distinct ritual.

“In the home fragrance world, I hope to see a greater emphasis on creating products that support mental and emotional well-being, perhaps through the incorporation of aromatherapy principles and customizable fragrance experiences,” Armstrong says. “Overall, the goal is to provide products that not only enhance the ambiance of a space but also contribute positively to the user’s health and the environment.”

Photogeneics + Co's volcanic rock diffuser is encased in a concrete dome.
Photogeneics + Co’s volcanic rock diffuser is encased in a concrete dome.

The Los Angeles company Photogenics + Co makes concrete dome diffusers topped with a black powder-coated tree spike, which makes it easy to remove the lid, and are filled with lava rocks. their stoneware diffuser features a large black ceramic vessel and stand, with a small divot at the top for placing a piece of lava rock. Created in collaboration with a Los Angeles stoneware, Match Stoneware, the piece is reminiscent of ancient ritual.

In New York, the meditation accessories company Walden pays an aesthetic ode to the natural material by putting it front and center in its diffuser design—a large, sculptural piece of volcanic rock that sits simply atop an anodized aluminum base. For lovers of minimalist design, Walden’s volcanic diffusers also serve as a statement piece that doesn’t detract from a more refined home palette.

“The Walden lava rock diffuser is not only functional but also serves as a beautiful piece of decor, blending seamlessly with different interior styles,” says Eddie Cohen, the company’s founder Eddie Cohen. “Additionally, users can customize their scent experience by experimenting with different essential oil blends, creating a personalized and unique aromatic atmosphere in their homes.”

Each of Walden's diffusers is made from a unique piece of lava rock mounted on a simple aluminum plinth.
Each of Walden’s diffusers is made from a unique piece of lava rock mounted on a simple aluminum plinth.

Despite the ability to create personalized scent blends, Walden’s volcanic rock diffusers can be purchased in tandem specifically with its Forest Essential Oil blend, featuring a warm, incense-like aroma and notes of woody balsam. Cohen says the scent was made with New York-based aromatic designer, BioAlchemy Olfactive. The ingredients are soured with purity and potency in mind, and Cohen takes steps to ensure they’re free from harmful chemicals, which “[aligns] with our commitment to wellness and environmental responsibility.”

Sustainably sourced ingredients—ones that are processed without harmful chemicals—seem to be the name of the game for everyone in the volcanic rock game. “This dedication to quality and responsibility is at the heart of our mission to offer a daily ritual that invites a series of quiet moments to celebrate the unfolding fragrance,” Armstrong tells Robb Report.

The transparency each has in their sourcing process is refreshing, allowing us to finally breathe deeply—in more ways than one.

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