General Information on Moonstone
Considered a Birthstone for February, moonstone belongs to the mineral family of Feldspar, which provide almost two thirds of stones on the earth. However, only a small percentage of feldspars fall into the 'gem quality' range.
Moonstone is made up of many layers. Light enters the stone and refracts among the layers before leaving the stone. The sheen effect, which is called schiller or adularescence, is caused by the intergrowth of 2 different types of feldspar, orthoclase and albite, with different refractive indexes. These intergrowths result from compatible chemistries at high temperatures becoming incompatible at lower temperatures creating a separating and layering of the 2 phases when the stone cools down.
Rainbow moonstone is part of the labradorite feldspar.
Feldspar can be found in many locations throughout the world. The finest blue moonstones can be found in Mogok, Burma (Myanmar). Most of the traditional mines in Sri Lanka are now closed. Moonstone can also be found in Madagasgar, India and Brazil.
Moonstone has a hardness rating of 6. Although reasonably tough, it can be fragile so should be handled with care. Small damages can arise after long periods of being worn however; it is possible for these to be polished away. This must be considered when choosing to commission a bespoke moonstone engagement ring from us.
Moonstone comes in a variety of colours including white, grey, brown, yellow, green, pink, blue. Some moonstones will have an eye as well as a sheen.
The clarity of a moonstone can range from transparent to translucent. Moonstones can contain inclusions, which appear to be tress cracks.
There is no treatment known which enhances moonstone quality.
The most valued moonstones have a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colourless body colour. However, recently an extremely rare and stunning Golden Moonstone from Mogok, Burma arrived on the market. The very few stones produced are sold at very high prices whilst more common white moonstones can be very affordable.
Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth domed cabochon shape to maximise the effect. The height of the stone is also essential to get this effect. The cutter must also bear in mind to locate the crystal axis exactly in the zenith of the stone. Moonstone can also be cut as cameos or sometimes engraved with a moon face.
Around 100 years ago moonstone was very popular. It was used to decorate many pieces of jewellery created by Rene Lalique and his colleagues.
The Romans are said to have thought that moonstones were formed out of moonlight. It is believed to reflect the powers of the sea and moon. Women wore moonstone to help with their menstrual cycles. It is said to soothe and balance the emotions and encourages inners growth and strength. It also aids peace and harmony and psychic abilities.
In India, moonstone is considered a sacred stone. Also known as a 'dream stone' it is believed to bring about sweet and beautiful dreams. In Arab countries, women wear moonstone as it is known as a symbol of fertility. The soft shine of moonstone will support the emotional and dreamy tendencies of a person. This association makes moonstone the perfect stone for lovers, believed to bring forth feelings of tenderness, passion and to protect true love.
During the full moon, apparently men can predict the future by placing a moonstone in their mouths!
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to arrange a design consultation.
Related blog articles
- Angela's blog on Moonstones.