Moonstones can be really gorgeous; they exude an almost mystical light that gives them a unique look. While they can be overlooked when people are thinking about gemstones, the moonstone is more quietly celebrated in several ways.
Since July 20th was National Moon Day, let’s look at moonstones and what makes them awesome.
MOONSTONE OR MOON ROCK
Some people may confuse “moon rocks” with moonstones. They are very different things, with very similar names. Moon rocks are rocks that were found on the surface of the Earth’s Moon. I’ll save you the Google search and tell you that “moon rocks” are now something made of cannabis for smoking as well. Looking for images to add to this post sent me into some interesting corners of the internet that I didn’t initially expect. After laughing for a bit, I continued my search as a more informed person.
Moonstones are gems that have a lot of spiritual associations. According to Hindu mythology, moonstones are created from solidified moonbeams. Many other cultures associate the stone with moonlight, which is visually understandable. It can create an appearance similar to moonlight sparkling on water or the flashes of light created as the moon shines through moving clouds. The dreamy, shimmering moonlight effect is why various cultures believed these stones had ethereal origins.
The moon is considered to be symbolic of the feminine, as the phases waxing, waning, and full are linked to maid, mother, and crone conceptually. The moon is also linked to darkness, mystery, emotion, renewal, time, immortality, and transition. It is the beacon that shines through our night sky, influencing our oceans’ waves, and the minds and hearts of the humans that live beneath its glow.
The Moonstone encapsulates that magic for a lot of people. What I know for sure is that it is beautiful and I love how the light plays within it.
How does that light play happen? It’s because Moonstone is not a single mineral. We have to start with feldspar, which refers to any group of aluminosilicate minerals that contain calcium, sodium, or potassium. Feldspar is the name of the group of rock-forming silicates that makes up over half of the earth’s crust. There are several types of gemstones that are feldspar deposits. Light gets between the layers of feldspar in moonstone and creates the signature moonlight-like sheen.
Moonstone is composed of two interwoven feldspar minerals – layers of albite crystals occurring within orthoclase. The minerals have different refractive indexes so when light enters the stone it’s bent, reflected, and scattered differently through layer after layer. The resulting diffraction produces moonstone’s wavering moonlight effect, also called adularescence, or “Schiller.”
The Cat’s Eye phenomenon is when a strand of light seems to linger over the moonstone as you rotate it. The appearance is reminiscent of a cat’s alert eye.
A rare trait in gems, asterism refers to the appearance of a star shape that may change in shape and/or size as light filters into it.
MOONSTONES IN JEWELRY
Moonstones have been used in jewelry for ages (primarily as accents). In the early 1900s, they began to take a starring role in Art Nouveau pieces. The blue-hued stones are the most common, but they can be several colors! It is not only lovely but said to have healing properties. While relatively hard (6 – 6.5 Mohs) it has cleavage that can cause it to be more easily breakable than other stones of its rating. There is a stone called Rainbow Moonstone, but it is actually a Labradorite and not a Moonstone. The Moonstone name just ends up rife with confusion, but the stone is worth the trouble!
MOONSTONES IN THE NOW
Birthstone: Moonstone is one of the birthstones for June, along with Pearl and Alexandrite. June babies have more options than most!
Anniversaries: On the Gemstone Anniversary list, Moonstone is the marker of a 3rd wedding anniversary. A stunning moonstone piece would be an amazing anniversary gift!
State Stone: The moonstone is the official stone for the State of Florida. Commemorating the moon landing and that voyage having launched in Florida, they honor that auspicious moment with a fabulous stone.
BRING IT HOME
I know that some PriceScopers have some amazing Moonstones, show them off in the comments!
Written by Kayti Kawachi