Labradorite: What’s that Stone?

Faceted labradorite and 18kt rose gold ring by Irene Neuwirth, available at the Squash Blossom.

Many people point out pieces of jewelry in our store and ask, “what’s that stone?”  More often than not, the answer is labradorite–a lesser known stone with mystical personality.

Labradorite has the tendency to catch people’s eye because of its curious bluish-grey color and flashes of blue and green.  The play of color has been appropriately deemed “labradorescence”, which comes off in lustrous metallic tints.  One variety of labradorite, spectrolite, is defined by its richer display of color (including yellows and reds) and darker base.

Named after the peninsula of Labrador in Canada where it was originally discovered by Moravian missionaries in 1770, Labradorite is now found all over the world from Canada to Australia, Mexico, Madagascar, Russia and the United States.

Peter Schmid Spectrolite Necklace

Sprectrolite, oxidized sterling silver, and 24kt gold necklace by Peter Schmid
Sprectrolite, oxidized sterling silver, and 24kt gold necklace by Peter Schmid, available at the Squash Blossom.

Labradorite is a member of the Feldspar group, along with moonstone, which it is commonly confused with.  The trade name for some labradorite is “blue rainbow moonstone,” though it is actually not moonstone at all.

According to ancient Inuit folklore, the Northern Lights were once trapped on the rocks along the coast of Labrador.  One day a warrior broke open the rocks with his spear and freed the lights, but not all of them escaped.  Therefore, they still glow with the colors of the Aurora Borealis.  If anything, this gives an excellent picture of the color flashes in the stone.

Labradorite earrings with a natural pattern in 18kt yellow gold, available at the Squash Blossom.
Labradorite earrings with a natural pattern in 18kt yellow gold, available at the Squash Blossom.

“Labradorite stands out because it looks unique from all angles as different colors present themselves,” says one sales associate at the Squash Blossom, “Many designers use it because it has a beauty all its own.”

See the Squash Blossom’s collection of labradorite here.

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