Luminescent and mysterious, the moonstone’s popularity stems from its shimmering otherworldly quality.
The moonstone’s shifting luminescence and haunting blue-white colour, has meant that it’s been likened to the moon for thousands of years. Throughout history, the stone has had an association with the moon goddess and the night sky.
Adularescence is the term given to describe the moonstone’s iridescent sheen. It’s caused by the intergrowth of two types of feldspar, which have different refractive indexes. The light reflected from these layers produces the blue luminescence that makes the moonstone so special.
Romans had a love affair with moonstone jewellery, believing it had magical powers. And ancient Indians believed that if lovers placed the stones in their mouths during the full moon, their futures would be revealed.
The moonstone became incredibly popular in the early twentieth century; being used extensively in Art Nouveau jewellery.
Moonstone is the most famous member of the feldspar family. It’s comprised of a sodium potassium aluminium silicate that forms a crystal structure.
Moonstones measure 6 on the Mohs scale, so they’re not as hard as some other gems and need to be treated fairly carefully against scratches and chips.
Moonstones are one of the few gems whose inclusions are a desirable feature. Tiny stress cracks, called centipedes, create unique features that add to the character of the stone.
The most valuable moonstones are transparent and colourless, with an almost three-dimensional high-blue sheen.
But moonstones can range from transparent to opaque, and come in a variety of hues from colourless to blue, yellow, gray green, pink and red. There’s even a multi-coloured variety called rainbow moonstone!
Where in the world ?
Classical moonstones with a transparent, bluish shimmer traditionally come from Sri Lanka, however other deposits have been found in Australia, the Austrian Alps, Madagascar, Norway, Poland and the US.
|| A family of complex aluminosilicates |
|| A wide range of colours.|
|| R.I. 1.52-1.54.|
|| Hardness 6-6.5.|
|| Monoclinic or triclinic|
|Sources / Occurrence
|| Many widely scattered locales, depending on composition.|
|| Crystalline Quartz—Amethyst, Citrine, Ametrine, Vermarine/Prasiolite, Rock Crystal, Smoky Quartz, Rose Quartz|
Crypto crystalline Quartz—Agate, Aventurine, Bloodstone, Cornelian, Calchedony, Chrysocolla Quartz, Chryoprase, Fire Agate, Jasper, Pertrified Dinosaur Bone, Petrified wood, Prase, Sard, Sardonyx, Tiger’s eye and Turritella.
To ensure your jewellery remains as dazzling as the day you buy it, see our guide called Cleaning & Care - How to Keep Your Jewellery in Mint Condition.