The Mystical Beauty of Labradorite: The ‘Aurora Borealis’ Gemstone
Labradorite is a breathtaking gemstone that’s distinguished by its vibrant colors and unique optical properties. It evokes the natural wonder of the Aurora Borealis with its iridescent hues of blue, green, gold and purple, creating a mystical and alluring effect that’s truly one-of-a-kind. This unique beauty makes labradorite a popular choice for jewelry. Its alluring presence adds a touch of intrigue and sophistication to any piece.
What sets labradorite apart from other gemstones is its ability to display a captivating play of colors, known as labradorescence, which is caused by the diffraction of light within the stone’s layers. When light enters a labradorite stone, it encounters a series of thin, layered structures that act as tiny mirrors, reflecting the light back and forth within the stone. As the light moves through the layers, it diffracts, creating a range of colors that seem to shimmer and shift as the stone is viewed from different angles. This remarkable effect gives the stone an ethereal glow that seems to emanate from within.
The formation of labradorite begins deep beneath the Earth’s surface, where it’s created from magma. It’s found in igneous rocks, particularly in basalt and gabbro. Chemically, labradorite is composed of calcium, sodium and aluminum silicate. Its physical structure is a combination of crystal aggregates, making it a relatively hard stone with a Mohs hardness of 6 to 6.5.
Labradorite was first discovered in the Labrador Peninsula in Canada in 1770 by Moravian missionaries, which is where it gets its name. It can also be found in other parts of Canada, such as Newfoundland and Quebec, as well as in Russia, Finland, Madagascar and the United States.
Labradorite has been used for centuries in spiritual practices, thanks to its mystical and transformative properties. It’s believed to enhance intuition and psychic abilities, making it popular with those who practice meditation and divination. In Inuit folklore, labradorite is said to have fallen from the Aurora Borealis, and it was believed to hold the spirits of their ancestors, providing protection and guidance. Labradorite is also associated with the zodiac sign Sagittarius and is one of the birthstones for those born in February.
One of the most famous labradorite stones is the Spectrolite, found in Finland, which is known for its vivid colors of deep blue, green and purple and intense labradorescence, which makes the colors seem to shimmer and dance as the stone moves. The colors in a Spectrolite stone are often concentrated in distinct patches or layers, creating a mesmerizing effect that’s truly breathtaking.
Another famous labradorite stone is the Aurora Borealis stone, found in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which is named after the Northern Lights and is known for its striking play-of-color. The stone’s labradorescence can range from subtle and delicate to bold and striking, creating a unique and captivating effect that’s as enchanting as the Northern Lights themselves.
Both the Spectrolite and Aurora Borealis stones are highly sought-after by collectors and jewelry designers alike for their unique and mesmerizing beauty. Their distinctive colors and labradorescence make them stand out from other types of labradorite, and their rarity and beauty make them a true treasure to behold.
Labradorite is a natural stone and is typically not treated or enhanced in any way. However, lower-quality labradorite stones may be treated to enhance their colors or to make them appear more vibrant. Labradorite is a relatively affordable gemstone, with prices ranging from $10 to $30 per carat. It’s often cut into cabochons to showcase its unique optical properties.
Labradorite can be found in a variety of retail outlets, from jewelry stores to metaphysical shops, making it accessible to all who seek its captivating beauty. Whether you’re drawn to its mystical properties or simply admire its shimmering colors, labradorite is a gemstone that’s sure to enchant and captivate all who encounter it.