Composed of sodium and potassium aluminosilicate, Rainbow Moonstone refers to a type of Labradorite that displays a vivid blue or multicoloured adularescence (an optical effect where a stone appears to glow from within).
It is often cream- or white-coloured, but some specimens have a blue or rainbow-coloured sheen to it. This translucent to opaque stone belongs to the feldspar family which is a rock-forming mineral that is abundant in the Earth's crust.
The Physical Properties of Rainbow Moonstone
It is included with many tension cracks that gemologists call centipedes, as these short and perpendicular cracks look like the tiny legs of a centipede.
These inclusions give Rainbow Moonstone its colour. So a gemstone with a few inclusions tends to have a bluish glow, rather than a multi-coloured glow.
Rainbow Moonstone has a glassy luster. Although it has a hardness value of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, the stone is prone to breakage due to its perfect cleavage.
Opaque Rainbow Moonstones are usually cut into cabochons to reveal their eye-catching adularescence, while transparent ones are cut into faceted stones.
The History of Rainbow Moonstone
At some point in history, Moonstone was known as adularia. It was named after Mt. Adular (now called St. Gotthard) in Switzerland, one of the first known sources of high-quality Moonstone.
Lapidaries call it ˜Rainbow Moonstone,' even if it isn't an Orthoclase (or real Moonstone). Popular extraction sites of Rainbow Moonstones are in Australia, Madagascar, Mexico, India, Poland, and Sri Lanka.
Since ancient times, Moonstone has always been used as an accent stone in accessory making, but it was only until the early 1900s that it made a splash in the jewelry industry.
During the Art Nouveau Era (between 1890 and 1910) across Europe and the US, designers René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany used the adularescent stone in crafting custom jewelry.
Moonstone continued to be a favorite among artisans throughout the Arts and Crafts era. The stone was used together with silver items in making bespoke designs.
Hippies in the 1960s wore Rainbow Moonstone accessories to achieve an ethereal look, while New Age designers in the 1990s looked to the stone to gain inspiration for natural beauty.
The Lore of Rainbow Moonstone
Rainbow Moonstone serves different purposes to different people. It is a protective stone to travelers that shields them from harm at night. In ancient times, sailors used it for a smooth and guided voyage like how the moon guided them.
For Romans, Moonstones are the solidified rays of the moon. The Greeks thought of them as crystals from deities of the moon. Other ancient cultures associated Moonstone with feminine energy, a stone that enhances confidence, affection, and focus,
Over the years, Rainbow Moonstone became the symbol of fertility, eroticism, and childbirth.
The Metaphysical Properties of Rainbow Moonstone
Rainbow Moonstone is believed to restore harmony and balance of energies. It also brings hope and sparks creativity. Many people use the stone to boost their intuition and perception, and understand visions deeply.
In the Hindu culture, Rainbow Moonstone is associated with the Vishuddha or the throat chakra. And being connected to the throat chakra, it can bring about truth and honesty in speech.
It also helps meld the physical and spiritual realms and assist its user in remembering their dreams.
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Rainbow Moonstone Gemstone Information. (n.d.). GemSelect. Accessed at https://www.gemselect.com/english/gem-info/rainbow-moonstone/rainbow-moonstone-info.php
Thomann, L. (2020, August 5). All About Moonstone. The Spruce Crafts. Accessed at https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/moonstone-facts-history-and-meaning-4065579
Moonstone History and Lore. (n.d.). GIA. Accessed at https://www.gia.edu/moonstone-history-lore
Rainbow Moonstone History. (n.d.). Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. Accessed at https://www.firemountaingems.com/resources/encyclobeadia/gem-notes/gmstnprprtsrnbw1