Moonstone Gemstone Information



 
Moonstone has been known for centuries and its unique properties have always held a special fascination. It is remarkable for its adularescence, which is the ability of light to enter into the crystalline structure and bounce back and forth creating an aura or shimmering quality. Moonstone can come in many colors, including  yellow, brown, green, blue and multi colored. 
 
Deriving its name from the shimmer of moonlight, there are many myths associated with this gem. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed moonstones to be emerged from the moonlight and associated the gem with magical healing and curative powers. 
 
  Moonstone Crystals
 

The milky sheen or wavy glowing light effect which appears to come from below the surface of moonstone gems is known as adularescence. The orthoclase feldspar popularily known as moonstones is the only gemstone which exhibits true adularescence. The milky, bluish/white sheen appears to float along the transparent or translucent body.

The structural pattern of the gem is the reason of this distinct optical phenomenon. Moonstone is made up of potassium aluminium silicate. Adularescence is caused by the layer effect due to presence of tiny inclusions of another feldspar in the host material. Inclusions of sodium feldspar in the potassium feldspar create a layer, where thin inner strata of two types of feldspar intermix. Interference effect of light occurs in gems due to these layers. Reflected light scatters equally in all spectral regions and produce a shiller. The colors of the shiller may be white, blue or blue-and orange by this phenomenon. But the valuable as well as desirable color of this schiller is blue, which is usually produced by a white or gray body colored stone. Thin layers help to produce an attractive schiller, whereas a less attractive whitish schiller is produced by thick layers. The size or distance from layer to layer determines the colors we see in many cases.
 
The prices and value of moonstone vary depending on the size and quality of the gemstone.  The main factors are color, transparency and size.

 
Why Buy Loose Gemstones Instead of Pre-Set Jewelry?
 
There are many reasons, but basically it comes down to value and choice...

When buying your moonstone gemstone loose instead of a pre-set stone, you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money.  Loose gemstones are less expensive, a better value, and you can really see what you are paying for.  The most important part of getting the right price and finding the best value is to first see what you're getting.  A jewelry setting will hide the inclusions inside a gem, and can deepen or brighten its color.  With a loose stone you can much more easily inspect the gem and see it for what it really is.  In this way you can get a better idea of its true worth and be sure you are paying a fair price for a fine gemstone.

The second advantage of buying a loose gemstone is choice.  You are free to pick the exact color, cut, shape and variety of the stone for the setting of your dreams, be it yellow gold, white gold, platinum or silver; prong set or bezel set with diamond accents.  You can experience the joy of creating your very own, one-of-a-kind jewelry design. Choose from a variety of jewelry settings and styles to create a completely original presentation that will perfectly suit your individual gemstone and will be as unique as you are!

Moonstone Ring                                                       

Attributes
 
Origin Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Myanmar (Burma), Madagascar, Germany, India, Tanzania, Brazil, United States, Mexico.
Color Can be numerous colors, including grey, white, pink, green and brown, but the most valuable are deep blue.
Refractive Index 1.52 - 1.53 to 1.53 - 1.54
Chemical Composition KAlSi3O8
Hardness 6 - 6.5
Density 2.55 - 2.58
Crystal Structure Monoclinic
Zodiac Sign Pisces
Month June

Moonstone is a gem variety of orthoclase feldspar, known as potassium aluminum silicate.  Moonstone is a transparent to opaque oligoclase, which is a variety of plagioclase albite, sheet mica, and orthoclase (straight fracture) alkali feldspar called "adularia" which is a gemstone quality silicate of potassium and aluminium.

Moonstone has a specific gravity of 2.55 - 2.58. The clarity ranges from transparent to translucent.  Moonstone has a refractive index of 1.533 to 1.552 and a vitreous to pearly surface luster. The refractive index (RI), measured using a refractometer, is an indication of the amount light rays are bent by a mineral. Birefringence is the difference between the minimum and maximum RI. When birefringence is high, light rays reflect off different parts of the back of a stone causing an apparent doubling of the back facets when viewed through the front facet.

Most gems have a crystalline structure. Crystals have planes of symmetry and are divided into seven symmetry systems. The number of axes, their length, and their angle to each other determine the system to which a crystal belongs. Moonstone gemstones crystallize in the monoclinic crystal system.   Basal cleavage forms right angled prisms with good cleavage in one the two directions and perfect cleavage in the other.

 

Color

Moonstone is usually colorless but also is found with a silvery sheen and many colors like white, sky blue, pink and orange. Moonstones come in a variety of body colors, ranging from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. While the moonstones colors can be very attractive, it is its attribute of adularescence that most consumers find attractive. Adularescence is the attribute that is familiar with high quality moonstones.  The best moonstone has a blue sheen, high clarity, and a white to colorless body color.

 

Cut

The phenomenon that gives this gemstone its importance is its schiller, which in relation with Moonstone has been given the name adularescence. The origin of this phenomenal feature is its interior crystal structure. Orthoclase Feldspar and Albite are found in close association, arranged in layers. The incoming rays of light are reflected inside the stone and scattered.  Classical Moonstones are always cut in a smooth-domed oval cabochon shape so as to maximize the adularescence. The most desirable effects of adularescence are achieved when the stone is cut on its optimal crystal axis.  Cutting is very important for loose moonstone to show the adularescence and the stone must be cut as tall, domed shape to exhibit the phenomenon. 

 

Treatments

Moonstone is typically untreated. But some of the bright blue moonstones in the market have been coated to produce the color.

AJS Gems fully discloses any and all known treatments to our gemstones.
 

Sources

Moonstone is found as a constituent rock-forming component in feldspar-rich granitic and syenitic pegmatites. 
 
The rare and valued bluish, nearly transparent Moonstones are most often found in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). There are also known deposits of Moonstones in Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Norway, Switzerland, Tanzania, and the United States. 

Mines of historical interest are found in the Adula Mountains of Switzerland.
 

Mythology

A symbolic substitute for the name Moonstone is “Selenite”, relating to the Greek goddess of the moon, Selene. 

The ancient Romans theorized that moonstone, with its unearthly shimmer, was formed from frozen moonlight.

In many areas of the world, moonstone is believed to bring good fortune to its wearer.

Moonstone is a stone of protection, protecting women and children, particularly during pregnancy and childbirth. Physically it is said to aid the wearer's pituitary gland and digestive system and also to fight against obesity. The moonstone is also said to calm emotions and ease hormonal and menstrual problems.

In ancient times, it was supposed to arouse tender passions in lovers and give them the power to read the future; to be effective as a means of determining one’s personal future, it had to be placed in the mouth when the moon was full.

In India Moonstone is considered to be a sacred and magical stone, with the power to bring about pleasant and beautiful dreams.

Moonstone was incorporated in the well-known classic Wilkie Collins novel “The Moonstone.” Collins was a friend and colleague of Charles Dickens and his 1868 novel, “The Moonstone” remains to this day a masterpiece of English literature.

Moonstone was a favorite a hundred years ago during the Art Nouveau era. It had been used by the famous French Master Goldsmith Rene Lalique in his numerous jewelry creations. These special creations can now only be found in museums or in collections

 
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