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>> Group(s) : feldspars, silicates
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The moonstone is composed of alkaline feldspar, mainly potassium in other words orthoclase, in its variety "adularia".
This is actually a microperthite resulting from a microscopic phase separation of platelets from a sodium feldspar, the albite, in the orthoclase during the cooling of the mixture of orthoclase and albite.
The adularescence phenomenon, which is the appearance of bluish reflets, is due to the interference created by these micro platelets of albite in orthoclase forming a network of light diffraction.
According to the layer spacing of these network of albite platelets in the orthoclase, some interference phenomena induces some bluish or whitish reflections that recall moonlight. This phenomenon of diffraction of light in bluish reflections is called "adularescence" but the white moonstone can also present a speckle of the type "cat's eye".
Its name comes from the Sanskrit "Shandra Kanti" for moonlight.
There are reports that Pope Leo X owned a stone "that was transformed and transmuted from white to blue according to the transformations and changes of the moon".
Orange, brown, greenish varieties from India exhibit the speckle phenomenon, some others, very blue, are called "rainbow" because they present the adularescence and labradorescence (as labradorite) phenomenon together, while some others are even green.

Exploited sites

It is in southern Sri Lanka that you find, the most beautiful ones, they are found in kaolinite within which the moonstone is a kind of nuclei, having resisted the degradation of other feldspars. Rudimentary mines sink up to 50 meters deep. The large moonstones, and of good quality are very rare, but there are some weighing 230 carats. They are also found in Brazil, the United States, India (Madras area), Madagascar, Australia and Tanzania not to mention Switzerland, where this stone, adularia, was named after Mount Adula in the Gotthard massif, where she was discovered.

See pictures of the mines / other pictures

Use in jewelry

It is cut cabochon. To obtain the highest luster, the silver light, or bluish pretending to appear in the surface while it seems at the same time to hide in the rock, its base should be parallel to the planes of alternating layers. If not, the reflection can go unnoticed, and this removes any value to the gem. They are used to make necklaces, pendants, rings, earrings.
The fine jewelry is using the moonstone on many prestigious items, it is also mounted associated with ruby .
The appelation "Ceylon opal" for moonstone is prohibited in jewelry.

Daily care and precautions

Sensitive to shocks, it must be washed with warm water and wiped with a chamois.

Looking alike stones

chalcedony , opal

Historical healing properties

In many Asian countries, it is used to relieve pain in patients putting the stones on their various chakras. Carrying within itself the powers of the moon, the moonstone symbolizes femininity and fertility and Muslim women are used to sewing one in their dresses to have many children. It would regulate the female hormonal system by placing a stone on the ovaries and second chakra. The moonstone symbolizes also the innocence of childhood, that is to say virtue without malice.
It would stimulate the imagination and sensitivity, making more aware and premonitory dreams, supporting delicate decision making, developing intuition. It would bring sweetness and tolerance to people perceived as hard and severe, contributing to the happiness and reconciling angry lovers. It was wore during the rising moon to increase love, when in a decreasing time it gave a vision of the future.
The physician Dioscorides, in the first century AD, in his "Materia Medica", wrote that moonstone cures epilepsy.

Imitations and treatments

It is copied by a base of translucent cabochon opal welded to a colorless glass. It Is also known the use of a colorless synthetic spinel, that after heat treatment, counterfeits it fairly well. There are also plastic molded adularescent plastics, cut in cabochon, that counterfeiters offer to tourists, mainly in Sri Lanka on tourist sites.
An amethyst heated up, gets an opalescent reflection, on a colorless background. Optical fibers of all colors may be a poor imitation.

Historical stones and related legends

The astrologer and physician of Marguerite de Valois, wife of Francis I, speaks about the reproductive phases of the moon in this stone: "The stone was the width and height of a noble rose [a piece of currency], but thicker, black as pitch, showing both increases and decreases in the light of the moon, at a certain point blank. [...] At the time of the conjunction of the Moon and the Sun, the moon brand Index appeared at the top of the roundness of the stone, like a very dark tiny grain of millet, which increased each day as a white pickle and eventually become round in the center of the stone as a large pea, like the full moon, then it decreased ... ". This stone was offered to the young King Edward of England.
A legend : In Sri Lanka, long before the constitution of the Sinhalese kingdom, in the fifth century BC.,by a full moon night, the rays of the moon turned into a stone with an extraordinary color and with magical powers. The people searched in the ground to find it because they had noticed that she drew rain, a source of life in august, during the celebration of the Perahera. We can still find pop in temples dating back over 1,000 years BC.

Chemical characteristics

potassium aluminium silicate

Physical characteristics

Main color : white

Other colors : blue, grey, yellow, orange

sought after in transparent milky white with bluish reflections

Color of streak : white

Luster : silky

Hardness : 6.0 to 6.5

Density : 2.56 to 2.59

Cleavage : perfect

Fracture : uneven

easy clivage

Optical properties

Transparency : transparent, translucent

milky, opalescent aspect

Refractive Index : 1.518 - 1.525

Double refraction : 0.008

Very weak

visible double refraction : no

Dispersion : 0,012 (0.008)

Pleochroism : absent

Number of colors : 1

Fluorescence : weak

Bluish, orange



Crystal system : monoclinic

Other informations

Astrological sign : Aries, Gemini, Libra

Month : june

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  • Aries Aries
  • Gemini Gemini
  • Libra Libra

It brings calmness, gentleness, creativity.