Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rock Review: Moonstone

New Bandy Bracelet in Moonstone by Layne Designs. It doubles as a pendant too!

Moonstone, today’s featured gem, is so named because it is one of the only gems that looks better in moonlight than sunlight.
Geology Buzz
This gem’s most memorable quality is a rainbow sheen that it casts in the opaque milky gray background due to reflections that occur within the various layers of Feldspar that comprise the gem. Moonstone is an amazing combination of two types of Feldspar, Orthoclase and Albite. When these two mineral heat and then cool, they settle in alternating layers that cause light to pass through the stone in a range of refractions, producing the lovely rainbow colors it’s known for. This reflective property is called adularescence.
Moonstones are ideal as cabochons and require a great deal of skill to cut correctly so that the depth and axes of a stone can reveal it’s fabulous shimmer, which otherwise would not be apparent to the casual observer. This stone can occur in a variety of tones from grey to brown to clear, but are most highly valued as a transparent gem with a blue hue. It is this classic look that most jewelry and rock lovers bring to mind when they think of the stone. In recent years, more exotic colors have appeared on the market such as orange, green, champagne, red and even black. In all colors, the defining sheen will be present.
Fun Facts
Long ago when neighbors were few and far between and communication among friends was not instant, folks would often meditate on a moonstone for answers to life's perplexing questions. Some believed that the glow of color from within was actually an ancient soul inside of the stone. Meditating over the stone, however, is not without tangible merit. The gentle blue glow of the stone actually relaxes the optic nerve when one stares at it for a few minutes. The relaxation of the optic nerve encourages the body into a meditative state.
Many cultures, including the Romans and the Greeks have associated Moonstone with the moon and lunar Gods, believing the rock to be solidified rays from the moon itself. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was a popular choice for jewelry of the Art Nouveau movement. Moonstone was a favorite gem of the famous French master goldsmith, Rene Lalique, who used it in many of his creations. Recently, moonstone has jumped in popularity due to the trendy Twilight movie franchise. The heroine, Bella Swan, is rarely seen without her lovely and sizeable moonstone ring that she wears on her index finger.

Brand new Moonstone pendant with Blue Topaz accent by Layne Designs!

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