Typical Blue Moonstones in a Pendant
What is a Moonstone?
Moonstone is a type of Feldspar mineral known as “Adularia”, a potassium aluminum silicate that is of gemstone quality. It is similar to Labradorite and Lapis Lazuli. They were originally found in the European Alps near the Adula Group, hence the name “Adularia”. Another synonym for Moonstone is “Selenite” from the Greek “Selen” or Moon Goddess.
It is a prismatic crystal with a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Which means it’s a relatively soft stone that can be easily scratched.
This gemstone also comes in a variety of colors. White with a blue shimmer, called “adularescence” is the most popular and is found in most jewelry, however, varieties exist that range from white to rainbow. Each stone is unique and depending on the cut some appear more three dimensional than others.
Where do Moonstones come from?
Most Moonstones are mined in Sri Lanka. These are the stones that tend to shimmer in pale blue on an almost transparent background. The specimens that are mined in India feature a nebulous interplay of light and shadow on a background of beige-brown, green, orange, or brown. They also have been found in Madagascar, Burma, Australia, and the United States.
Since the bluish colored Moonstones have been so popular throughout history, they are becoming more and more rare. And you will find that the prices in the market will reflect this fact.
What is the history of the Moonstone?
Moonstones have been used in jewelry for thousands of years! From the Orient, throughout the Middle East, and well into Europe Moonstones have been treated as sacred stones. For example, in India the stone is believed to have special significance for lovers. They believed that if they placed a moonstone in their mouths at the full moon, then they would be able to see their future together. It is also traditionally given as a wedding gift to newlyweds.
In Europe, Moonstones were said to reconcile estranged lovers and to cure sleeplessness.
During the period of 1890 to 1910, or the “Art Nouveau” period, Moonstone was very popular in the jewelry that was in style. It adorns a noticeabley large number of the creations of the French master goldsmith Rene Lalique and his contemporaries of the time. His pieces are mainly to be found in museums and private collections today.
What to look for when purchasing a Moonstone.
Classical Moonstones are always cut en cabochons. This is to help emphasize the natural adularescence by making sure the height of the stone is correct and the axes of the crystal align precisely into the zenith to bring out the light effect that makes the stone look three dimensional. However, there are some stones that have been faceted, but they just don’t have the typical “Moonstone” effect.
Another thing to consider about the cut is the size of the stone. Is the stone actually large enough to see the variations and color changes that make them so unique? Many times, stones that are small enough to set into rings or use as beads don’t have the depth necessary to really show off the stone. However, when you have pieces that are large enough for pendants and necklaces, that is when you will really see the three dimensional effects!
Out of the 4 steps to consider when buying any gemstone, Color is the most important for the Moonstone! Strong intense blue adularescence with a more transparent background in a stone idicates that it most likely was mined in Sri Lanka and it is at the top of the price range per carat.
Specimens from India feature a nebulous interplay of light and shadow on a background of beige-brown, green, orange, or brown. Other mines produce stones that are from milky to translucent in white, cream, yellow, blue, green, and even pink. Even rarer are specimens that have a cat’s eye or four spoke star effect as well as the shimmer. Whatever the color you choose, the higher quality stones will show more of the adularescence when the color is intense against a basically clear background.
When talking about clarity in the Moonstone, you have to consider the play of the light through the stone. If the stone appears to be shallow without much depth or adularescence, then your clarity will be less. When the stone has a depth and movement within it due to the play of light, then the clarity is of higher quality.
Carat weight, while important in calculating the cost is also important in creating the best effects. The bigger the stone, the more light there is to play with. On the other hand, an extremely large stone will most likely be milky or creamy without much depth. It really all depends on how the stone is cut and does the cut bring out the best qualities?
Bottom line when choosing your stone
As with all gemstones, the bottom line when choosing the best gemstone for you is to choose one that catches your eye. If a 5 carat transparent blue Moonstone doesn’t strike your fancy when compared to a milky green 3 carat stone, then buy the green one! Moonstones have other qualities besides just their financial value to consider when purchasing. If you don’t love the stone to start out with, you won’t wear the jewelry it’s set in. So buy what you love that’s within the price you can afford.
How do you care for your Moonstone?
Let’s now talk about the practical side of your new Moonstone. As I’ve stated before, Moonstones have a hardness between 6.0 and 6.5 on the Mohs scale. This means that they can easily be scratched. Here is a list of things you can do to protect your Moonstones.
- Don’t wear your moonstone jewelry when you are participating in physical activities.
- Clean your moonstone jewelry in warm soapy water and then dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
- Never use bleach, acids, steam cleaners, and sonic cleaners! These will damage your stone!
- When storing your moonstone pieces, protect them from being scratched by other pieces in your jewelry box by either placing them in their own spot or putting them inside a soft pouch.
- If your stone does get scratched and looses it’s luster, take it to a jeweler you trust to have the stone repolished. Most light scratches can be removed this way.
If you do these simlple things to care for your Moonstone jewelry, then it should last you many, many years! It could even become an heirloom piece that you can hand down to the next generation!
What are the Folklore and Metaphysical properties of Moonstones?
Because Moonstones have been used for centuries as sacred stones, there are a lot of things to consider from the more metaphysical side of things. Such as, how will the moonstone affect you, your health, your emotions, and your spiritual self?
Let me start of by explaining that moonstones affect the more fluid functions of the mind and body much like the moon affects the fluid functions of our planet. That being said, let me break it down further.
Which chakras are stimulated by Moonstone?
First, what is a Chakra?
chak·ra – noun \ˈchä-krə, ˈshä-, ˈchə-\ : any of several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy. They are numbered from 1, the base Chakra to 7, the crown Chakra. (See picture to the right)
Moonstones activate the sixth, Third Eye and seventh, Crown chakras and help to balance the whole chakra system. This generally means that it is a useful stone when meditating to help bring into your conscious mind that which has been hidden in your sub-conscious mind as well as to bring balance to your entire spiritual energy system.
What parts of the body are stimulated by Moonstone?
The parts of the body that Moonstones can be useful in helping to heal are the digestive and reproductive systems. This includes assisting the body to assimilate nutrients, eliminate toxins and excess fluids, and alleviates degenerative conditions of the skin, hair, eyes, and fleshy organs.
How does Moonstone affect our emotions?
By helping us to activate our Third eye and Crown Chakras, the energy of the moonstone helps us to sort through our emotions and gain a higher perspective on their meaning and purpose. Through this we can alleviate our frustrations and reduce our emotional stress levels and anxiety. This will have a calming effect on the physical body that will help to facilitate the healing of the digestive and reproductive systems. In meditation, a female can use the gentle energies of the moonstone to help get hormonal balance back under control. For a male, Moonstone use in meditation can help him to get in touch with his right brain, or more feminine side. It will encourage nonlinear thinking and emotional balance. It both sexes, it’s frequency aids in the clearing of the aura and helps us to pay attention to the cycles of our lives.
How does Moonstone affect our spiritual selves?
Moonstones have always been associated with mystery and magic and the more feminine and intuitive side of life. The same can be said of the moon itself. Because Moonstones vibrate on a subconscious level, they have been attributed the power to increase psychic awareness and even clairvoyance. In other circles, this could also be a connection to the divine energies of God or the Universe. By connecting to these energies we can increase our spiritual awareness and begin to express ourselves in a more loving and empathetic way.
It has been called the gem of the High Priestess, keeper of the feminine mysteries. A talisman for the inward journey and into past lives. It is the stone of dreamers and lovers and all those seeking a higher knowledge. Or even just a bit of relief from the stresses of everyday life. It is a stone that can be more powerful than you can imagine and at the same time be gentle enough to sooth the anxieties of a child.
Moonstones are the third birthstone for the month of June. They exhibit the dual nature of Gemini, the astrological sign for the major part of the month. Gemini is also considered an air sign. Meaning that it controls those things associated with thought, higher learning, and the esoteric side of life. The other side of this sign represents the darker side of thought. When balanced, the two create a creative whole that is able to express that creativity either through words or actions.
Moonstones are beautiful three dimensional stones that appear to shimmer and move in the light. They make excellent stones for use in jewelry because they catch the light in such unique ways.
Moonstones are also a soft stone. They need to be protected from scratches and abuse and gently cleaned with warm soapy water.
If you are looking for the perfect birthday stone to give this month of June and you don’t want to spend the big bucks for an Alexandrite and you would like something just as beautiful but more durable than a pearl, then Moonstone is your stone!
Chakra. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2014, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chakra
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Moonlight. (n.d.). Gemstones Advisor. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from http://www.gemstonesadvisor.com/moonstone/
Simmons, R., Ahsian, N., & Raven, H. (2007). Moonstone. The book of stones: who they are & what they teach (Rev. ed., ). East Montpelier, Vt.: Heaven and Earth Pub. ;.
Originally published at www.jewelrybymorgan.com