Moonstone, a striking member of the orthoclase feldspar family, is celebrated for its unique adularescence, where light dances across its surface in mystical hues. This sodium aluminum silicate gemstone manifests in colorless forms as well as in enchanting shades of blue-white, white, and soft apricot and peach. The most sought-after moonstones boast a colorless base with a captivating blue schiller, creating an ethereal floating effect above the stone. This phenomenon results from a precise arrangement of orthoclase and albite feldspars, with the thickness of these layers dictating the color of the schiller.
Moonstone's Premier Source: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka stands as the premier source for these mesmerizing stones, with their alluvial gem gravels yielding water-worn specimens of exceptional beauty.
The Roman and Indian Lore of Moonstone
Delving into the Rich History of Moonstone Since around 100 A.D, the Romans have adorned themselves with moonstone jewelry, attributing its origins to the moon's ethereal light. In India, moonstone is revered as a sacred stone, with legends suggesting that holding it in your mouth during a full moon enhances your foresight. Historical beliefs also hinted at moonstone's ability to render one invisible, a trait that has morphed into the contemporary idea that it strengthens the spirit's independence from the body.
Moonstone in Art Nouveau Jewelry
Esteemed Art Nouveau designers, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, often chose moonstone for their exquisite creations. The movement emphasized a return to handcraftsmanship and sought inspiration in nature, which made the natural, gentle, and calming glow of the moonstone an ideal fit. Tiffany, in particular, was known for his masterful use of colors and innovative techniques in glassmaking, and he applied the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail to his moonstone jewelry pieces. These items often featured the stone as the centerpiece, surrounded by intricate designs that mimicked natural forms and structures.
The preference for moonstone in this era wasn't just about aesthetics; it also reflected the period's fascination with spirituality and the occult. The moonstone’s association with the moon, femininity, intuition, and the supernatural made it a fitting symbol for a movement that sought to transcend the boundaries of the material world through art.
Metaphysical Properties of Moonstone
The mystical qualities of Moonstone Moonstone isn't just a visual marvel; it's also believed to be a stone of intuition, insight, and balance. While often associated with feminine energy, it's known to cultivate empathy and gentleness in all. In various cultures, moonstone is thought to attract love and offer protection, especially during travel over water. It's also linked with fertility, extending its influence to nurturing gardens.
Gemological Aspects of Moonstone
Understanding Moonstone's Gemological Aspects Moonstone's allure is not just in its appearance but also in its properties:
- Color range: Colorless to white, cream, peach, and brown
- Durability: Good
- Crystal Structure: Monoclinic
- Hardness: 6.0-6.5 on the Mohs scale
- Refractive Index: 1.518-1.526
- Family: Feldspar
- Common Confusions: Can be mistaken for adularescent glass, synthetic spinel, and white chalcedony
- Treatment: Typically untreated
Proper Care and Maintenance of Moonstone
Caring for Your Moonstone To maintain the captivating beauty of your moonstone, follow these care guidelines:
- Ultrasonic Cleaner: Avoid using
- Chemicals: None
- Steam Cleaner: Avoid using
- Sensitivity to Light: None
- Cleaning: Gentle washing with warm soapy water and a soft brush
- Sensitivity to Heat: Generally, heat is okay
By understanding the rich history, metaphysical attributes, and practical care for moonstone, enthusiasts and collectors can fully appreciate and maintain the beauty and mystique of this enchanting gemstone. Whether it's in jewelry or as a cherished collector's piece, moonstone continues to fascinate and inspire with its luminescent qualities and storied past.