What Is a Moonstone? | Bixler’s Gemstone Guide
Moonstone is one of the loveliest minerals found on earth that presents a glittering and cloudy appearance. It is a sodium-potassium aluminum silicate in the group of feldspar with a chemical formula of (Na, K)AlSi3O8. It is characterized by adularescence which is responsible for its almost transparent and compelling nature. Feldspar, being a common group, makes up about 45% of the earth’s crust. The gemstone occurs almost in all parts of the world and is prized for its beautiful blue to the white moonlight-like sheen.
The name comes from sheen or schiller which is a visual effect brought about by the scattering light through minuscule layers of feldspar. Upon exposure to light, the moonstone scatters the light when it moves in extremely thin layers that it occurs in. For this reason, it is popular for its brilliance and vibrancy together with its beautiful appearance. Being the birthstone for people born in June alongside beautiful gems like alexandrite, the moonstone presents plenty of good values. It is also the symbol of the thirteenth marriage anniversary.
What Is Moonstone Used For?
Moonstones are popular for making beautiful and outstanding jewelry like rings, talisman, amulets, earrings and more. Apart from physical benefits, moonstone is also believed to encourage hope, improve feminine energies, and also enhance psychic abilities. It also holds sacred meanings and symbolism that are embraced by different cultures worldwide. Since it comes in a variety of shades, each of them holds great importance.
Rainbow moonstone, sometimes called Peristerite provides psychic protection and repels pessimism and calms you when you’re having bad dreams. Most healers and shamans use Grey moonstone for leading the way into various dimensions. Cat’s Eye (blue Moonstone) provides clarity in the eyes of the wearer and enables them to have a high level of awareness. The clearest Moonstone is called white Adularescent and is associated with the moon and its energy for visualization. Peach, as well as yellow Moonstones, are best used with people suffering from anxiety and also inspire creativity.
Are Moonstones and Opals the Same Thing?
Moonstone is in the feldspar group containing sodium potassium aluminum silicate. It has a chemical formula of (Na,K)AlSi3O8. Opal, on the other hand, is a hydrated amorphous form of silica with a chemical formula of SiO₂·nH₂O. The two differ in many ways from formation to color and there is no way they can be the same.
The Moonstone encompasses two species of feldspar that include orthoclase and albite. During formation, the species are usually fused then as new minerals cool down they separate and form stacked layers that are alternating. Opal, however, forms at very low temperatures and occurs in rock fissures. Moonstone has a 6 rating on the Mohs scale of hardness whereas Opal measures 6.5. However, Opal scratches easily. The colors of moonstone range from grey to peach as well as white or blue luster. Opal in plenty of colors including white, pink, blue and black.
Is Moonstone Expensive?
When it comes to purchasing Moonstones, the variations in price may surprise you. They range from a few pennies to hundreds of dollars on the market. What mostly determines the value of Moonstones is the color and weight. Moonstones with white adularescence or yellow, orange, brown, are readily available and thus, inexpensive. Whereas those displaying unique colors like blue, green and rainbow moonstones are extremely rare and quite expensive. Blue Moonstones holds the highest value and the more intense the color is, the more expensive it is. Also, the more clarity and weight the stone has, the higher the price. Rainbow moonstones are also extremely rare and cost a lot more than other specimens.
Where Is It Found?
As part of the feldspars mineral family, the Moonstone is believed to occur in almost all parts of the world. It ranges from colorless to peach, pink, grey, yellow, green, brown, and blue. Adularescence is the play of light visible when looking at the moonstone and has a transparent to translucent clarity. All these are aspects of Moonstones that are affected by their origin. Sri Lanka is where the highly prized and valuable Blue Moonstones come from. This is because of their uniqueness and rarity. Rainbow Moonstones are also the most valued specimens and come from India. Other historically moonstone mines are in Switzerland’s Adula Mountains, Myanmar, Norway, Brazil, USA, Germany, Australia, Tanzania, and Madagascar.
Does Moonstone Scratch Easily?
Moonstone is rated 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness which means it is not such a hard gemstone. This being the case, the gemstone scratches quite easily when rubbed against other hard objects. What’s more, the moonstone exhibits fragility since it is in the feldspar group that contains plenty of internal fissures. Knocking the moonstone harder with an object can even shatter it into pieces. Therefore, you should observe total maintenance when dealing with the moonstone so that it can last longer. If you love the Moonstone and want it as part of your jewelry, it is recommended that you pick one with a protective bezel for support and protection against damage.
Is Moonstone a Precious Stone?
Gemstones are classified into two main categories depending on the value; precious and semi-precious stones. The terms only exist in the West where traders used them for marketing purposes. Precious stones are only four including diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. The rest of the stones are referred to as semi-precious and the Moonstone falls into this category. So, no. The Moonstone is not a precious stone but a semi-precious gemstone.
What Is the Difference Between a Moonstone and a Pearl?
This is a question that many people often ask; is Moonstone and Pearl the same? The main reason for this confusion is the two have a similar resemblance. However, the two are different from their formation to their physical properties. Moonstone belongs to the feldspar family and bears a spectacular white sparkle called adularescence. Pearl, on the other hand, does not belong in the mineral group and is formed inside the tissue of a living animal; shelled mollusk, found in the sea. Moonstone contains potassium whereas Pearl is composed of calcium carbonate. Just like the Moonstone, pearl various comes in colors like white, silver-grey, green, brown, pink and blue. Pearl also comes in golden colors making it quite different. The moonstone has a hardness rating of 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness whereas Pearl ranges from 2.5-4.5 out of 10.