Moonstone: Beauty and Light
7 moonstone questions answered
Where do moonstones come from?
More than half of the earth’s crust is made up of a mineral called feldspar, making it the most common family of minerals on the planet. But a particular variety of feldspar, called hecatolite, is a gorgeous and popular gem-quality stone. Called “moonstone” due to the pale, mysterious light it seems to contain, this stone is found largely in Brazil, Myanmar and India, while Sri Lanka is known for producing moonstones of exceptional quality.
The rarest and most coveted moonstones come mostly from Myanmar. Known as blue moonstones, they are perfectly transparent and have a blue sheen that seems to float on the gem’s surface. The finest examples have an intense blue color known as “blue flash.”
Why do moonstones look so cool?
Moonstones are one of several types of stones that gem experts call phenomenal, meaning they possess a distinct optical quality that creates one of several light-based phenomena.
An authentic polished moonstone will always display the characteristic quality called adularescence.
Adularescence causes the light directed at a gemstone to create a soft, blue-white glow called a schiller that seems to float just below the gem’s surface, and appears to move as you view it from different angles. A moonstone’s schiller will look milky.
What's the history of moonstone?
In ancient times, both the Hindus and Romans believed moonstones to be made of frozen or crystallized moonlight. The Romans linked the stone to their moon goddess, Diana, and believed that wearing it would bring them love, riches, and success. And for as long as humans have known about it, we’ve associated this gem with romance, protection, luck, and hope.
Moonstones experienced several marked surges in popularity over the last century. They first became popular in modern jewelry during the early 1900s, appearing as accents. Designers who were part of the Art Nouveau or Arts and Crafts movements—in particular Rene Lalique—began to feature them more centrally. Lalique showcased the stone in many of his handcrafted designs. During the same period, Louis Comfort Tiffany was designing moonstone jewelry for his father’s store, whose name is now synonymous with fine jewelry.
Perhaps because of its links to the Arts and Crafts movement, moonstone jewelry gained the favor of 1960s flower children and became part of their signature aesthetic. Then more recently, the stones’ popularity spiked again.
Are rainbow moonstones real moonstones?
The short answer is “no.” They are not moonstones at all.
They are actually clear labradorite. Moonstone and labradorite are “cousins” in a way. They’re both varieties of feldspar. But they’re distinctly different varieties.
Labradorite does have the quality of adularescence, so people who like moonstone often find it appealing. But it reflects light in a way that’s very distinct from that of true moonstone. Rainbow moonstones exhibit iridescence, like oil on water does, or a DVD—that is, many colors that change as the angle of view changes.
Is moonstone a birthstone?
If you want to gift a moonstone to a loved one, you’ll be pleased to learn that you can find them adorning almost anything you can imagine. If your loved one was born in June, you’ll be equally happy to hear that it’s one of three birthstones for that month—and it’s usually less expensive than the other two, pearl and alexandrite.
Are moonstones fragile?
You need to wear moonstones with care. They only rate a 6.0 on the Mohs hardness scale (just one rank above the notoriously fragile opal), so they’re vulnerable to scratches. They also have “perfect cleavage” in two directions, which makes them prone to fracture if dropped or struck. To keep your moonstones out of harm’s way, earrings, necklaces, and hair accessories are probably the safest places to wear them—rings and cufflinks, less so. Also, avoid exposing moonstones to extreme temperatures. And never use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner on them.
Where can I buy moonstones for my hair?
Ready to wear your own beautiful moonstones? Click the button below to choose from our collection of white moonstone hair accessories.