Moonstone is a semi-precious gemstone frequently incorporated into some of the most modern, beautiful handmade jewelry in the world. It is most often found in shades of shimmering white, and is widely recognized as the June Birthstone. But beyond its modern-day uses and associations, it holds a decadent mythological, spiritual and etymological history that adds nostalgic value to its already strong aesthetic worth. Read on for more information that will help you fall in love with your moonstone jewelry – or inspire you to buy some today!
The name comes from the shimmering appearance this stone displays, which appears different whenever the stone moves. This phenomena is called adularescence. Adulerescence is due to the interior makeup of scales or lamellas structure of the Moonstone. When incoming rays of light hit these scales, it is refracted and scattered into a unique play of light.
Moonstone is a variety of the species feldspar. On earth, two thirds of the stones are varieties of Feldspars! Moonstone’s particular orthoclase feldspar variety is called “adularia,” because it was found in the European Alps near the Adula-group, and also contains the silicate of potassium aluminum in gemstone quality. Another synonym for Moonstone is “Selenite,” after Selene, Greek goddess of the moon.
They look best as parts of formal evening jewelry when paired with Black Onyx, dark amethyst or black diamonds. More casual combinations include softer contrasts of brilliant moonstone with rose quartz, peridot or topaz. Moonstone is typically considered a sophisticated gemstone that works well with any outfit. In earrings, it works especially well to enhance the luster of dark or light blue eyes.
Moonstone’s body color comes in a large array of hues: blues, green, orange and peaches, smoky beiges, and brown, dependent on the origin of the stone. Sri Lanka was the first origin for Moonstone, which are a shimmering pale blue against an almost transparent background.
This is often considered the perfect choice for jewelry designs that display sensuous and feminine character. About a hundred years ago, Moonstone was also once a very popular gem to set into jewelry, in the times of Art Nouveau. It populated many jewelry designs created by the famous French Master Goldsmith, René Lalique, and by his contemporaries. Nowadays, these creations can only be seen in museums or in collections.
Moonstone has long been considered a sacred and magical gemstone. Centuries ago, the shimmering adularescent property was thought to resemble the phases of waxing and waning of the moon. In Arab countries, this stone was sewn into woman’s garments, because it was was believed to be the symbol of fertility. In India, Moonstone was called the “dream stone,” as it was believed to bring beautiful, sweet dreams. It is also thought to symbolize the holistic view of the wearer–its soft shine will support the dreamy, emotional tendencies of the person. These associations are what make it an ideal choice for lovers, bringing forth feelings of tenderness and true love. Moonstone is also thought to bring about mental clarity, balancing the ying/yang of the wearer, and an overall sense of comfort. It is mined in Sri Lanka, and India, as well as Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, the United States and Tanzania.
Mohs’ Hardness score is based on a 10 point scale where 10 is the most resistant, like a diamond, and 1 is easily scratched, such as Talc. Moonstone gets a score of 6.-6.5, meaning that it is somewhat scratch resistant and therefore suitable as a component of jewelry. Moonstone gemstones should be regularly cleaned by a professional or with a soft rag and mild soap and water. Avoid ultra-sonic cleaners, solvents and harsh chemicals when cleaning your handcrafted jewelry as exposure to these elements can damage semi-precious and precious gemstones and pearls.
Learn more about all semi-precious gemstones, including amethyst, apatite, black onyx, blue topaz, carnelian, chalcedony, citrine, coral, garnet, white topaz, crystal, diamond, emerald, iolite, jade, Labradorite, moonstone, pearl, peridot, prehnite, rose quarz, ruby, sapphire, smokey topaz, tanzanite, tourmaline and tourquoise when you check out this gemstone chart.