Moonstone shows an almost magical play of light as its
characteristic feature. It owes its name to this mysterious gleaming
which appears different whenever the stone changes its position in
movement. Experts call this the “adularescence”, and in earlier
times the phases of waxing and waning moon were though to be
discerned in this phenomenon.
Moonstone from Sri Lanka, the classical country of origin for
Moonstone, shimmers pale blue on almost transparent ground. Specimen
from India shoe cloudlike plays of light and shade on beige brown,
green, orange or simple brown background. These subdued colours in
combination with the fine shine make Moonstone an ideal gemstone for
jewellery with a sensuous and feminine character. This gemstone was
once before extremely popular, about a hundred years ago in the
times of Art Nouveau. It used to decorate a striking amount of
pieces of jewellery created by the famous French Master Goldsmith
René Lalique and by his contemporaries. These pieces are usually
only found in a museum or in collections nowadays.
Many mystical and magical connotations surround this stone. In
several cultures, like for example in India, it is considered a
sacred and magical gemstone. In India Moonstone is also appreciated
as a “dream stone”, as it is supposed to bring about sweet and
beautiful dreams. In Arab countries women often were Moonstone sewn
into their garment, because there this gemstone is appreciated as a
symbol of fertility.
Moonstone symbolises a holistic view of man and woman. Its soft
shine will support the emotional and dreamy tendencies of a person.
The associations thus involved make Moonstone of course the ideal
stone for lovers, reputed to bring forth feelings of tenderness and
to protect true love. It is also reported that wearing a Moonstone
will further intuition and your sensitivity for others.
What are Moonstones and where do they come from?
The mystical stone belongs to the large mineral family of feldspars,
which provide almost two thirds of all stones on our Earth. In the
case of Moonstone, we are looking at the feldspar variety called
“adularia” a silicate of potassium aluminium in gemstone quality,
which is also found in the European Alps near the Adula-group – thus
the name “adularia”. Another synonym for Moonstone is “Selenite”,
according to the Greek goddess of the moon, Selene.
When uncut, Moonstones look quite boring and make it difficult to
discern their attractiveness: the mysterious play of light. It will
only be brought out by the cutter's expertise and skills. Classical
Moonstones are always cut as cabochons. Here the appropriate height
of the stone is essential. The cutter must also bear in mind to
locate the crystal axis exactly in the zenith of the stone, because
only then the desired effect of light play will be achieved.
The classical, bluish and almost transparent Moonstones
traditionally came from Sri Lanka. But they are also found in the
USA, in Brasil, Australia, Myanmar, and Madagascar. Since blue
Moonstones in fine qualities have become more and more scarce in
recent time, the prices have increased accordingly.
For some years now also green, blue and peach or smoke and champagne
coloured, black and reddish specimen have been offered, which come
mainly from India. Some of these show not only the typical the
typical floating play of light, but also a cat's eye or a
multi-rayed star. These stones, then, are not only cut as cabochons,
but also cut as intricate cameos, sometimes engraved as children's
-, moon - or gargoyle face. They also show the play of light which
is so typical for Moonstone, just like the spheres and beads made
from suitable raw material to be crafted into fine necklaces.
Where does the striking play of light come from?
The light of a Moonstone is something special indeed in the
fascinating world of gemstones. Experts call this phenomenon “adularescence”.
The origin of this phenomenon is the interior structure of the
gemstone in scales or lamellas. Incoming rays of light are refracted
inside the stone and scattered. In this way, then, there is created
a unique play of light, which makes Moonstone so special and coveted.
This beautiful gemstone, however, has a considerable drawback: it
only achieves a hardness of merely six on the Mohs' scale.
Moonstones should thus be handled carefully, as they are very
fragile. On the other hand, small damages which will arise after
longer periods of being worn, can be corrected relatively easily. A
jeweller can have a dulled Moonstone polished in such a way, that it
will regain its mystical light like on the first day.
Three-dimensional colour and seductive charm
When purchasing Moonstone you will be astonished at the striking
differences in price. The more intense the colour, the larger and
more transparent the stone, the more valuable is the gem. Really top
quality fine blue Moonstone show an incredible “three-dimensional”
depth of colour, which you will see clearly only when playfully
tilting the stone and moving it. Such specimen are very rare and
thus highly coveted, and of course accordingly valuable. The
brighter coloured Indian Moonstones are not only a fashion trend.
They are usually a little less expensive than the classical blue
variant, so that everybody today may pick his or her favourite
Moonstone to meet exactly all requirements of taste and budget.
Moonstones are Nature's treasures with a sensuous and seductive
charm. The do not only ask to be looked at and admired, the require
to be worn and moved a lot. Because only then the soft veil of light
which makes this gemstone so attractive will be able to display its
beauty to the best effect.