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All About Moonstone Jewellery

06/01/2022 2039 0 2

ALL ABOUT MOONSTONE JEWELLERY


Moonstone is the opalescent variety of orthoclase. Traditionally thought to be a good luck stone and linked to romantic passion, it was often offered as a gift between lovers. Moonstone  can be transparent with a stong blue hue on the surface, or it can be milky with the appearance of inner light . It can have a striking cats eye or star effect.The hue is the result of the light reflecting off alternating layers of albite and orthoclase feldspar. The thin albite layers produce the desirable blue tone and the thick orthoclase layers create the white hue or "schiller". Moonstone comes in a variety of colours and can possess many different qualities.

Gold and Silver Moonstone Necklaces below: Left - Gold moonstone necklace with cabochons in gold vermeil settings. Centre -  long moonstone necklace with round moonstone gems bezel set in sterling silver settings along a silver chain. Right - sterling silver and moonstone necklace with silver chain.

    Real moonstone silver necklace   Silver moonstone necklace


WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A MOONSTONE

 

Unlike other gemstones such as emeralds and sapphires moonstones are usually not artificially enhanced to improve their value and colour. Moonstones come by their features honestly. What you should look for in a moonstone is something called "schiller," which is basically the moonstone's lustre when polished. Schiller results from the light bouncing off the moonstone’s thin layers of albite (which produce blue hues) and thicker layers of orthoclase feldspar (which provide the white, pearly, moon-like glow). To enhance the schiller in a specific bit of moonstone, the mineral is generally formed into a round shaped cabochon, worn in a pendant or ring, in which each layer of the stone runs parallel to the flat base of the cabochon. However, that said, moonstones with imperfections, or inclusions inside the stone are also prized since they can provide dazzling cat’s-eye effects. Less frequently, moonstones are specially carved into cameos (their hardness of about  6 on the Mohs scale allows this in comparison, diamonds are at the top of the scale with a10). Because moonstones are of hard enough quality to facet .  they are sometimes are cut into cushion shapes, however the stone can be brittle, so cut moonstones are usually.


Moonstone Jewellery below: Left - chunky silver and moonstone bracelet with garnet and pearls. Centre - vintage Peter Jenner silver moonstone and fire opal necklace. Right -  rectangular moonstone and sterling silver ring .

Moonstone silver bracelet    Peter Jenner moonstone silver necklace   Moonstone silver ring


BENEFITS OF MOONSTONE

 

Moonstone is generally associated with the Moon and is know as a very beneficial stone for women. A stone of  insight and intuition , moonstone is thought to  help balance any aggressive tendencies in the emotional body  in both males and females.  Many people find moonstone to be quite soothing and it is used to help relieve stress. Physically, Moonstone is believed to  assist conception by aiding all parts of the reproductive system, and moonstone is known for its power to balance  menstrual and hormonal cycles. It also aides the digestive system, including the liver, and can help in the absorption of essential  mineral and vitamins

Below - vintage and antique moonstone jewellery: Left George Jensen silver and moonstone pendant 360B, centre - blue moonstone necklace with amethysts, and blue moonstone and silver earrings

Georg Jensen moonstone pendant 360b   Blue moonstone necklace amethysts   Blue moonstone silver earrings



TYPES OF MOONSTONE


Blue Moonstone

Blue moonstone is transparent and crystal clear with a floating blue tone on the surface.The most desirable stones have the most intense blue colour. The largest and best stones have traditionally come from Myanmar(Burma), however it has become much harder to find good stones and therefore the price has increased. Blue moonstone is sometimes faceted,however care needs to be taken when working with it, as the material can be brittle and break under pressure.

Moonstone bracelets below from L to R:

  
Labradorite and large rainbow     Beautiful pearl and blue moonstone 
 moonstone pendant                    round necklace


Rainbow Moonstone
Rainbow moonstone has a milky patchy appearance which comes from the white orthoclase inclusions and layers. When the stone catches the light, the reflection off the layers and inclusions produces a rainbow effect. The colour play has made this a very popular stone and it is often used in silver jewellery. The scientific name for rainbow moonstone is labradorite, and despite the name it is different from true moonstone, which is called orthoclase. They are related however, and look similar. Both types appear to give off an internal glow, and their benefits are very similar The particular colour and appearance of this soft, semi-transparent type of moonstone is due to the way that the mineral is formed.Two different types of feldspar mix together, and then arrange themselves in alternating layers as the mineral cools.These alternate layers scatter light, unlike the majority of stones, which either absorb light or allow light to completely pass through them. This is what create the appearance of an internal glow. Rainbow moonstone is found in different areas of the world, with particular deposits found  in Canada, India, Australia Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Russia amongst others. Because it is a type of feldspar, and the feldspar mineral makes up 60% of the Earth’s crust, small pieces can easily be found, and larger ones are much rarer.      

Green Moonstone
Green moonstone is not as well known as rainbow or blue moonstone as it does not have the colour play, however it is still a beautiful stone. It usually has a slightly hazy or clear appearance an a pale green-yellow colour.When you look down at the stone you will see a light emanating from within, like a full moon. It is commonly cut with a high dome to accentuate this optical effect and frequently a star of light will be visible on the top of the dome.

Pink Moonstone
The term pink covers colours from honey to beige to peach, ranging from translucent to opaque. The stone should have a white sheen and is often found with a cat's eye or star effect. This type of stone is often used in rows of coloured beads.

Orthoclase
Orthoclase is a relatively inexpensive transparent stone that is colourless or pale yellow, and can have a blue white tone or sheen. The colourless variety is called adularia, as it was found at Mount Adular in Switzerland. Orthoclase is commonly faceted as a step cut due to its fragile nature, and becasue of this it is not widely used or produced.

Amazonite
Amazonite is an attractive opaque stone. Due to the presence of lead it is either a blue-green, or blue and white striped colour. The colour pattern tends to be irregular even with the solid colour material. Amazonite can occur in different colours such as yellow, pink, red, and grey, however it is the blue green that is most popular and widely used.

INCLUSIONS IN MOONSTONE

Inclusions in moonstones can be seen in the form of fissures (small cracks) within the moonstone . Moonstones can also  have rectangular dark areas where stress cracking or cavities exist. Moonstones are one of the few gemstones with inclusions.

SIZE OF MOONSTONES

Fine quality large size moonstones are rare. Moonstones with a blue tone , the most sought after colour are rarely found in sizes over 15 to 20 carats. Stones with a silvery or white adularescene are plentiful and can be found in sizes up to hundreds of carats.Indian moonstone with strong body colour is inexpensive and abundant.

Cost and Popularity of Moonstone

 

Moonstone has been highly prized for many years  especially by royalty. Currently, its popularity is probably highest in Scandinavia and Germany, where it is preferred over alexandrite and pearl as the birthstone for June. It's typical phenomenal effect called adularescence, is named after a mining site at Mount. Adular in Switzerland. (Moonstone is also sometimes termed  “adularia”).
  
Moonstone and silver                 Multi moonstone and silver 
teardrop necklace                       mini drop necklace

Adularescence is created by the diffraction of light as it hits thin, alternating layers of albite and orthoclase inside  the gem. Often moonstones are cabbed with quite high domes to accentuate the adularescence. Moonstone with strong displays often reveal cat’s eyes when cut in this way. Asterism is quite rare in moonstone.When it does occur, the star is generally four legged. When buying moonstones the variations in cost may be confusing and range from a few pennies for opaque white stones to hundreds of pounds for large clean blue, rainbow or green varieties Stones with a white or colourless adularescence are abundant and not expensive The colorful orange, yellow, brown,  and creamy Indian moonstones are also popular. 

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