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Adding to our growing list of gemstones in our Gemstone Series is the moonstone. Moonstone, like pearl and alexandrite, is another birthstone for June. Get to know more about this delicate beauty as we explore its mystical qualities, history, symbolism, and more.
What is Moonstone?
Moonstone is the gem quality of the mineral group feldspar. It comes in several different body colors like gray, white, peach, brown, green, orange, and colorless. Adularescence makes moonstone more distinguishable from other gemstones.
Adularescence is an optical illusion. It’s that soft glow of light that billows across a polished gemstone, especially a cabochon. This metallic iridescence comes from under the surface of the stone and it happens when the light reflects between layers of minerals.
Moonstone’s adularescence, or schiller as it’s commonly called, occurs under any of these three conditions.
- When the source of light moves
- The stone moves under the light
- When you change the angle from where you view it
You probably have seen the same schiller effect in other gemstones like opal, rose quartz, and labradorite—another feldspar mineral, but the display of light differs due to inclusions. With moonstone, the effect gives an impression of moonlight floating on the water; hence, the name.
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How Does a Moonstone Form?
Despite its name, moonstone comes from the earth. It forms during magma cooling when two different minerals—orthoclase and albite—intermix under extreme pressure and high temperature. As the two minerals solidify from the magma intergrowing with each other, the minerals create stacked, alternating thin layers,
These stacked layers play a significant role in the moonstone’s adularescence. When light falls between these thin layers and scatters in many directions, it produces the schiller effect.
Where is Moonstone Found?
Australia, Brazil, India, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka are the common sources of moonstones. India produces moonstones of various colors while the others produce white.
Did you know that moonstones were once called Adularia from Mt. Adular of Switzerland? Mt. Adular was once among the first sources of fine-quality moonstones in the world.
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History and Lore
Moonstone, the birthstone for June, is one of the original modern birthstones since 1912. Its effervescent personality and mystical appearance have been revered for centuries and associated with Roman and Greek deities, Hindu Mythology, and the Art Noveau era.
Is it made of solidified moonbeams? Known as the sacred stone of India, the moonstone was thought to have been embedded in the forehead of the Hindu’s four-handed god of the moon, Ganesh. For these people, the stone brings good fortune as it came from the moon’s ethereal light.
The Greek and Roman Mythology
Ancient Romans also believed that the moonstone came from drops of moonlight and therefore, associated it with love, romance, dreams, femininity, and intuition. Pliny, the Roman author and naturalist believed that the moonstone changed its appearance with the phases of the moon. For the Romans, the moonstone exhibits the image of Diana, the goddess of the moon, while the Greeks saw it differently.
Merging the names of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and Selene, the goddess of the moon, the Greeks named their moonstone Aphroselene.
The Asian Myth
believed to be brought by tides once every 21 years, Ancient Asians revered the blue moonstone as an amulet that attracts abundant crops. For them, the moving light inside the gem was a live spirit of a protective fairy who could cast away the wearer’s negative energy. As such, moonstones are a customary gift for those celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary and every 13 years after that to counter the negative connotation of the number 13.
Meaning and other Metaphysical Properties
For many centuries and cultures, the moonstone symbolizes fertility, growth, cyclical change, and clarity. You can also associate it with energy, passion, spirituality, and intuition.
With that being said, if you’re into Feng Shui, you’d know that the moon represents divine femininity. As the moon cycles, it reminds you of the ebbs and flows of life, which cultivates compassion and allows you to access your intuition. The moon activates the intuitive power of the feminine energy, which helps you balance and manage your emotions while reducing tensions.
With its yin energy—slow, cool, and relaxed—the moonstone invites you to be reflective and introspective. Thus, it connects to the Crown and the Third Eye Chakra.
Finally, the moonstone is also a Traveler’s Stone because of the protection many have believed it provides to its wearers, especially those traveling at night. This makes it an excellent gift for those who love to travel.
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Quality Factors of Moonstone
Just like with other gemstones, your buyers would look for the 4Cs when purchasing; however, it’s normal that they’d be keener on body color, color, and the quality of the sheen.
As mentioned earlier, moonstones have various body colors. They can be green, orange, peach, brown, gray, or white, to name a few. It can also be either semitransparent or opaque and likely displays more optical illusions than adularescence. This may involve chatoyancy and asterism.
Despite this, the highest quality moonstone is the one that displays an electric blue shimmer. It’s also colorless or semitransparent without visible inclusions.
Since inclusions can interfere with the schiller effect, a good moonstone is one without visible inclusions and is almost transparent.
Cabochon is the most common cut for moonstones as it allows phenomenal color display. However, buyers would be put off by very flat cabochons as they do not display a good sheen.
Like other gems, moonstones come in various sizes and carat weights, but the finest quality in large sizes might be scarce.
Are You One of the Many Lucky People Born in June?
As they say, people born in June are lucky because you have a wonderful selection of gemstones. With moonstone being one of the enchanting birthstones for June—one that harvests the energy of the moon, would you dare ask for more?