The Luminous Moonstone

How did Moonstone get its name?

Moonstone is the one of three recognized birthstones for the month of June. During early Roman times, moonstone was given its name because its appearance was thought to change with the different moon phases; this belief is no longer held true. However today, highly revered in India, it is believed to bring good fortune.

What should you look for in a moonstone?

Moonstone comes in lots of pale colors (such as yellow, peach, pink, green, brown to colorless) and is characterized by a special optical phenomenon known as adularescence. This is what gives moonstone its translucent or opaque iridescent appearance; it seems to glow! It is also possible to find rainbow, cat’s eye or star moonstone, as well.

Another popular presentation of moonstone is to carve the surface into decorative design motifs, such cameos, florals, or whimsical “man-in-the-moon” faces. The carved surface together with the stones iridescent sheen creates an intricate three-dimensional effect many find desirable.

The beauty of moonstone is best shown as a high-domed, cabochon cut stone. This shape displays its extraordinary appearance in the best way. Those stones that come closest to being colorless, possessing a strong blue colored sheen seen from all angles (like billowing clouds), and transparent (with no visible inclusions) are considered most valuable and rare to find.

Sharon S. Axelson
Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America
Certified Gemologist Appraiser, American Gem Society

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