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Monday, 6 June 2016 4:24:49 PM Australia/Sydney
Discover Moonstone, One of the Most Luminous Gemstones on the Planet
It only takes a single glance to understand how the moonstone found its name. This endlessly mythologised gemstone has a distinctive translucent lustre that plays with light like nothing else – except maybe the moon itself.
Meaning, History and Beliefs Surrounding the Moonstone
Given the gem’s other-worldly appearance, it’s no wonder the ancient Romans believed it was formed by magic, and the ancient Indians believed it possessed transcendental powers. Legend has it that the stone promotes good luck in romance, and for that reason it makes a perfect gift for lovers and brides-to-be. More generally, moonstone is believed by many to encourage insightfulness and intuition in the wearer. It also makes an ideal gift for those born in June, as it sits alongside pearl as that month’s birthstone.
What is a Moonstone? A Quick Mineral Lesson
Transparent or translucent in appearance and of opaline lustre, moonstone comes from the mineral feldspar. The best moonstones are almost colourless with excellent clarity and a blue sheen. However they can also range from grey and brown to yellow, green or even pink.
Because moonstone has a relatively low hardness level of about 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale (by comparison, diamond is a 10 and topaz is an 8), it can be carved with intricate designs, cameo-style. But cabochon is by far the most popular cut for this stone, as you’ll see in our own moonstone rings and earrings.
In the cabochon cut, the natural imperfections found within the layers of feldspar produce almost celestial displays of colour, lustre and shimmer. It’s the way that the light permeates these thin mineral layers that gives the moonstone the illusion that it’s glowing. This natural phenomenon is known in the gemology trade as adularescence or “schiller”.
Because of its slightly brittle nature, moonstone should be treated with care. Avoid harsh knocks and store your moonstones in a soft pouch or fabric-lined box away from other jewels to prevent scratching or dulling the surface.
Famous Moonstones by Jewellery Designers throughout History
This remarkable gem inspired some of last century’s most famous jewellery designers, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, who incorporated irregular sized moonstones into this necklace, and Cartier, who included the stone in this Art Deco brooch.
The precious stone also featured in many of Fabergé’s legendary Easter eggs, including the Winter Egg, which is carved from rock crystal quartz and topped with a cabochon moonstone.
Meanwhile the famous Dragonfly Brooch by René Lalique epitomises the popularity of moonstones in Art Nouveau jewellery design. After all, moonstones are among the most feminine, fluid and mystical of stones, and are a fitting celebration of movement, sensuality, nature and desire – all attributes which were very important in Art Nouveau.
Just like the artisans of the fascinating Arts and Crafts jewellery movement in the early 20th century, our designers at NAJO have chosen highly polished sterling silver settings to best accentuate the moonstone’s luminous sheen.