When buying Moonstone you need to look for the spectral colour play seen beneath the stone’s surface, reproducing the ethereal glow of moonlight in water. Due to its sublime beauty, the Moonstone has been added to the list of birthstones for the moon-connected month of June.
Image courtesy GIA.com
The delicate loveliness, timeless appeal and historical heritage of Moonstone makes it one of the most popular, and common, of the gem-quality feldspar minerals. The elegant shimmer of light in Moonstone is said to enhance its healing capacities; the gemstone is believed to soothe, heal and rejuvenate a weary soul. The Moonstone is also said to help you discover your innermost passions concealed under the layers of your subconscious.
Rough moonstone found in Sri Lanka. Photo: Vincent Pardieu via GIA.com
Belonging to the feldspar group of minerals, Moonstone is the intermingling of albite with orthoclase – both feldspar minerals – in an alternating composition that leads to the formation of separate stacked layers. The microscopic mineral layers of Moonstone create its unique sheen. Light is the key characteristic of this mineral and can be observed even in its rough form. A superior cut defining the finest aspects of a rough brilliantly maximises this special feature.
Moonstone forms a fascinating pattern where the twin thin layers of minerals exquisitely scatter light resulting in the phenomenon known as adularescence. Adularescence refers to the billowing waves of light within the stone. This spectacle can be witnessed in other feldspar minerals including labradorite. The most interesting feature of adularescence is the oscillating appearance of the light from the gemstone. The play of light seems to wave across the surface of the stone as you alter the viewing angles.
Though derived from feldspar, a commonly available and abundant mineral, Moonstones of superior quality are quite rare. A Moonstone of finest quality exhibits a pure glassy translucence complemented by an electric blue fluid lustre. A deftly cut Moonstone showing a glimmering blue glow against its ideal colourless backdrop is a treasured combination. Vivid blue sheen sans any visible inclusions, resulting in nearly colourless or transparent appearance is typical of the best Moonstones.
Inclusions within a Moonstone interfere with the adularescence. The characteristic inclusions within Moonstone are in fact tiny pressure cracks known as centipedes. An expensive and rare Moonstone can be identified by the lack of inclusions in the stone.
The 8.34 ct moonstone in this ring designed by Maria Canale is set in platinum with sapphires. Courtesy: Richard Krementz Gemstones. Photo: Robert Weldon/GIA.com
When buying Moonstone, the cabochon remains the most common cut to demonstrate the stone’s phenomenal play of light to greatest advantage. The oval cabochon is the most common shape. A Moonstone cabochon should have uniform dimensions as a flat profile fails to expose the sheen and fetches little or no value.
The quality of a Moonstone and its carat weight determine its value. Blue, peach or rainbow Moonstones can start from a modest US$20 and can go much higher depending on the rarity and quality of the Moonstone.
A variety of labradorite is sometimes called rainbow moonstone. Image courtesy GIA.com
Buying Moonstone depends on the amount of money you want to spend; always choose clarity and colour over carat to get the best value for your dollars.
Discover some of our amazing gemstones in our Coloured Gems collection.
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