A true gem of antiquity, Moonstone is surrounded by folklore regarding its origins. An Indian sacred gem, Moonstone was once believed to be a magical solidification of actual moonlight. Distinguished by a stunning metallic blue shimmer, that dances across its surface as the gemstone is moved, Sri Lankan Rainbow Moonstone has revitalized the popularity of this increasingly rare gemstone.
Legends & Lore
- Popular with the Romans, who thought it was formed out of moonlight, and in India, where it is considered a sacred zodiac gem, Moonstone is the most valuable variety of Feldspar. In India, Moonstone is believed to possess sacred properties including the ability to control temperament, erratic behavior, insomnia and marital problems.
- A symbol of the Third Eye, Moonstone was once believed to balance yin/yang, protect against epilepsy and sun stroke, cure headaches and nose bleeds, and ensure a high yield in crops. Today, crystal healers believe that it can help men open their feminine emotional aspects.
- In antiquity, men used Moonstone to predict the future by placing them in their mouths during the full moon!
- A favourite of Art Nouveau jewellers, Moonstone is a highly prized gift for lovers as it is believed to arouse tender passion. In some cultures, it is also believed to accentuate the wearer's nature, whether positive or negative.
Just the Facts
- Moonstone is a member of the Feldspar group of minerals and is closely related to Sunstone.
- The name Feldspar comes from the German "Feldt Spat", meaning "Field Stone". This is because when Feldspar weathers, it releases large amounts of plant nutrients, such as potassium, which enrich the soil.
- Moonstone's characteristic shimmer or sheen is also known as "Schiller" or "Aventurescence" and is caused by the intergrowth of two different types of feldspar with different refractive indexes. Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed cabochon shape to maximize this effect.
- Moonstones come in a variety of colours, ranging from colourless to gray, brown, yellow, green, rainbow or pink. Moonstone Cat's Eyes are also available.
- While primarily mined in Sri Lanka and at Tamil Nadu in Southern India, it can also be found in Madagascar and Brazil.
- Moonstone from Tamil Nadu in Southern India is sourced from mines and limestone caves spread out over a wide area near the village of Kangayam. Here the miners use Moonstone's characteristic shimmer or sheen to their best advantage. Shining flashlights on pegmatite feldspar veins, the illumination of light bounced back from iridescent Moonstone crystals quickly betrays their presence. The typical mining processes for collecting gems from these formations are similar to those used in ancient times - the pick axe and elbow grease.
- Traditionally, the best Moonstone has a blue sheen, near perfect clarity and a colourless body colour. Sri Lankan Rainbow Moonstone possesses all these qualities and as it is quite rare and becoming rarer, it is definitely a "must have" for any jewellery collection. Sri Lankan Rainbow Moonstone is laboriously chipped directly from a host deposit in Meetiyaguda, Sri Lanka. The host deposit is accessed by mine shafts 3 meters by 3 meters in size, approximately 20 meters deep with sides fortified by planks of wood. Interestingly, Sri Lankan Rainbow Moonstone typically displays such a stunning transparent clarity (not usually associated with this gem type), intense bright blue shimmer and dazzling play of colour that it can be cut as a faceted gemstone. This is truly unique and further accentuates the desirability of this highly collectable rare gemstone.