Labradorite Gemstones: A Closer Look by LL Private JewellersSeptember 22, 2023
Labradorite and Rainbow Moonstone are known as ‘sister’ stones because they belong to the same family and, as in human families, share some characteristics but not others making them individual gems. This family is the mineral feldspar or rather a group of minerals that includes silicate, potassium, aluminum, calcium, sodium, albite, andesine, anorthite, bytownite, oligoclase, and orthoclase.
Each of these minerals has its its own characteristics, e.g., higher or lower refraction, transparency, colour, density, etc. that then determine certain aspects of the gemstone and cause the variations in the two gemstones.
But there is another significant difference in these two gemstones, again pertaining to the feldspar or family ‘tree’ with its various components of different inclusions of those other minerals because feldspar somehow splits into two parts: potassium feldspar (orthoclase) that creates true moonstone and plagioclase feldspar giving us labradorite.
It’s all very confusing I know and there is yet more confusion when the phenomenon of adularescence is included because it occurs in both Labradorite and Rainbow Moonstone thus leading to the misnomer ‘labradorite moonstone’, which is totally wrong as there’s no such gemstone; it’s either one or the other.
If you’re now totally confused but would like to better understand the connection and differences between these two gemstones you should/might consider talking to Monika at LL Private Jewellers for her knowledge of gems is truly impressive and extensive. For now though I’m going to share some facts about these two gemstones in terms of colour, myths, and believed magical properties.
Colour and other Similarities
Labradorite so named for Labrador, Canada where it was first discovered in 1770, can be identified by the iridescent schiller effect known as labradorescence that is caused by light diffraction in the layers of rock to create the whole spectrum of colours or simply a brilliant play of colour in either a Green or Blue sheen and, when turned or viewed at different angles, the stone can also exhibit a white or bluish light known as adularescence.
Rainbow Moonstone, being a ‘sister’ stone to Labradorite though not technically the same material, also exhibits adularescence but here the colours are blue and multicoloured and while it is caused by exactly the same phenomenon as that in Labradorite there are also inclusions of the mineral albite.
This adularescence is therefore both a characteristic and an identifier of Rainbow Moonstones. Labradorite’s colours are dark grey to grey-black with colourful iridescence, blue, purple, green, yellow, red, orange-red, brownish, and colourless. Rainbow Moonstone, on the other hand, is usually colourless with a blue or multi-coloured sheen with the blue sheen being the the most sought after and most valuable.
Labradorite Gemstone Myths
Every culture has its myths and legends and the Inuit culture (Labrador, Canada where the Labradorite was first discovered in the 18th century) is no exception. These myths are always about a person and his/her exploits, a rite of some sort, or an object they could not explain or understand.
Enter the Labradorite gemstone with its amazing range of colours and the optical illusion of shifting colours that makes one think immediately of the Northern Lights (the Aurora Borealis) and you have the subject of a myth or legend. And here it is: the Northern Lights shone down on the shores of Labrador and were captured in the rocks where they waited until a particular someone released them.
The Moonstone myth is similar to that of Labradorite but this time it was believed caused by rays of the moon falling to earth where they solidified into the highly prized Moonstone. This was the belief of the ancient Romans.
Both Labradorite and Rainbow Moonstone are believed to have magical properties, which is not surprising given that they are ‘sister’ stones in the same family. Labradorite, for example, also known as the “Stone of Transformation” and a “Stone of Magic” is believed to possess powerful protective properties that will help the wearer to find his/her true path in life, aid disorders of the lungs, prevent colds, bring peace to the wearer, help with digestion, bring out psychic abilities, and regulate blood pressure.
Rainbow Moonstone’s believed magic properties are identical to those of the Labradorite, again, not surprising since they are members of the same family.
To see either or both of these incredibly beautiful gemstones, I again suggest you see Monika at LL Private Jewellers. You won’t be disappointed.
For more information about Labradorite please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343