The moonstone in jewelry
Moonstone is a fine stone very much sought after both in lithotherapy and jewelry.
It should be known that "moonstone" is a familiar trade name which designates a Feldspar characterized by a shimmering silver-blue reflection that seems to float on the surface of the stone (source).
Jewelers use it as well to mount it on rings or pendants because of its particular colors and light reflections that make it a stone both extraordinary and relatively inexpensive compared to precious stones.
Pear-shaped cabochon moonstone with adularescence optical effect
- What is moonstone ?
- Origins of the moonstone
- Colors of the moonstone
- What is the price of the moonstone ?
- Recognize the real moonstone
What is moonstone ?
Moonstone is a Feldspar of the chemical formula KAlSi3O8, which is the most abundant mineral group on Earth.
Nothing precious a priori or special!
If only a small percentage of these minerals have a gem quality by the optical phenomenon of adularescence giving the stone silvery or bluish reflections reminiscent of the moonlight, hence the name of this stone.
The moonstone is composed of two species of Fledspath that are responsible for the diffraction and refraction of the light passing through the stone and responsible for the optical effect of adularescence.
The photo of this raw moonstone demonstrates what this reflection of adularescence.
Raw moonstone from Mexico
Note that to merit the term moonstone, the stone in question must necessarily have this optical effect (source).
Moonstone origins ?
Moonstone is extracted from many mines around the world of which the most important producing countries are presented on this map :
Map showing the main producers of moonstones
You can find the complete list of these deposits via this link, or click on the following image to see the complete list.
To learn more about the mining of moonstones, I highly recommend watching this video showing the gemologist Patrick Voillot to discover the moonstones of Sri Lanka.
The moonstone can take many colors listed below :
- dark grey
Visual setting the wide range of colors that can be taken by the moonstone
Price of the moonstone
The price of a moonstone varies enormously according to its quality, whether it is translucent or slightly opaque with a more or less pronounced adularescence effect.
To evaluate the quality of a moonstone, the easiest way is to use the description given by this gemological website :
|1/3||cabochon, opaque to translucent, cleavages and fractures, surface defects, dull or dark color, no or very weak optical effect||Price <$15/Ct|
|2/3||nicely polished cabochon or faceted cut, transparent to translucent, frank color, visible optical effect of adularescence, shimmer, asterism, opalescence and/or adventurescence||$15/Ct< Price<$50/Ct|
|3/3||cabochon well polished or faceted quality, transparent without inclusions visible to the naked eye, colorless to slightly opalescent, superb optical effect of blue adularescence||$50/Ct< Price|
According to the highly variable quality of the stone, its price can vary from a few dollars per carat to reach more than 150 dollars per carat.
Where to buy a moonstone ?
If you want to make a moonstone a jewel, the easiest way is to go directly to your jeweler to get a unique quote including:
- supply of stone
- jewel design
- stone mounting
As we do through our online jewelry creation service.
Otherwise, on the web, you can turn to these moonstone suppliers :
- Frediani is a recognized house with quality moonstones (fr)
- Agemmes offers economic colored moonstones
- Gemfrance site offers a wide choice of moonstones whose price ranges from 5 dollars to 4000 dollars
- "Les pierres précieuses" website also offers some interesting moonstones
- Gem-Plus website also offers interesting stone lots (fr)
Recognize the real moonstone
There are imitations of moonstone that can easily confuse the buyer.
Not being myself a gemologist, the easiest way is certainly to share with you the non-exhaustive list of the common imitations of the moonstone established by Gemmo.eu :
- Jadeite almost colorless, very translucent, cut in cabochon and mounted in jewel on a shiny metallic base to reinforce the internal luminescence which can be likened to adularescence (McClure, 2006)
- Triplet Quartz / layer-thin-colored / Quartz whose thin layer sandwiched in the colorless Quartz gives a visual effect similar to that of the Moonstone (McClure, 2006)
- Doublet Verre / Labradorite with a clear glass cabochon dome occupying + 90% of the volume, serving as a magnifying glass on a flat base in Labradorite of beautiful blue iridescence (Hainschwang, 2006)
- Colorless synthetic spinel heated to cause opalescence that may be confused with adularescence of the Moonstone (O'Donoghue, 2006)
- Colorless synthetic spinel coated with a thin blue layer, probably titanium-based, recognizable by its submetallic brightness and the overly uniform distribution of optical pseudo-effect (author TP, 2008); also with asterism at 4 or 8 branches visible under strong directional light (Renfro, 2011)
- Sillimanite when showing slightly bluish reflections similar but not identical to those caused by the adularescence of the Moonstone (Quinn, 2006)
There are indeed many sites on the web selling so-called moonstones. The best is certainly to turn to gemologists or stonemasons to provide you with moonstones.
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