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Questions and Answers About Labradorite

What type of gemstone is labradorite?

Labradorite is named for the geographic area in which is was discovered – Labrador, Canada in the 1770's. Labradorite is one of six plagioclase feldspars that range from all sodium/ no calcium to all calcium/no sodium minerals. They are: Albite, Oligoclase, Andesine, Labradorite, Bytownite, and Anorthite. Anorthosite is a type of rock that has a lot of labradorite crystals in it. It is often cut and polished for use as an architectural stone for countertops, tiles, window sills, and facing stone. It is often sold as 'blue labradorite granite'. Labradorite is in the mid-range and is comprised of 30-50% sodium and 50-70% calcium.

What is labradorescence?

Labradorite's Schiller effect is so strong that it has gained its own classification known as labradorescence. The term labradorescence was coined by the Danish professor of Minerology, Ove Balthasar Bøggild in 1924. What is Schiller effect? The German word schiller translates to shining or twinkling. It describes the appearance of light reflecting off of inclusions inside translucent mineral. Labradorite specimens with strong color spectrum labradorescence are often named Spectrolites.

What other special appearances do labradorites have besides labradorescence?

Labradorites also have a strong adularescence. What is adularescence? It is a white to blueish light or glow when the stone is tilted or turned. Because of this type of appearance, labradorites with little to no color play are mistaken for moonstones, which are another related gemstone in the feldspar group.

Some labradorite also display an appearance called aventurescence. Aventurescence is a metallic shine that looks like fine glitter.

Where can labradorite be found?

Good sources of labradorescent labradorite can be found on Nain and Taber Islands in Newfoundland, Canada. Excellent labradorite specimens have been found at: the Ylamaa quarries near Lappeenranta, Finland; Golovinskoye, Russia; Zhytomyr, Ukraine; Tulear Province in Madagascar; and Black Hill, New South Wales, Australia. Transparent labradorite can be found in India. Aventurescent only labradorite can be found in the US states of Oregon, Utah, Texas, and New York. More specifically in New York, labradorite is mined in Franklin County, in the Adirondack Mountains in places such as Saranac Lake. More specifically in Utah, a yellowish transparent labradorite is mined in Millard County. A yellow labradorite can also be found at the Woodward Ranch near Alpine in Brewster County, Texas.

How hard is labradorite?

Labradorite is a 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale.

What are Oregon Sunstones?

Orange labradorite without labradorescence are sold as 'Oregon Sunstone'. Sunstones are a close relative of labradorites in the plagioclase feldspar group.

What is Andesine labradorite?

Andesine labradorite is a color treated labradorite often referred to as 'Rainbow Moonstone' or the the trade name 'Madagascar Moonstone'. It made its first appearance in 2003 after it was discovered in the Andes. It is now referred to as Andesine-labradorite to clear up any misconceptions about its actual composition.

What is Spectrolite?

Labradorite of good quality from Finland is called Spectrolite. The term Spectrolite was termed by the Director of the Geological Survey of Finland. Spectrolite labradorite was first found in the Ylamaa region of Southeast Finland by a geologist during World War II. In 1973, Finns in the Ylamaa region set up the first workshop specialized in cutting and polishing labradorite stones.

What is Lynx Eye?

Lynx Eye is a labradorite with a green iridescence.

What is Lemurian Blue?

Granite slabs from Madagascar are often used for architectural material because of their bright blue labradorite inclusions. This stone is often sold as 'Lemurian Baobab' granite. Lemurian granite is named for Lemuria, a mythical sunken land mass in the Indian Ocean. There are many legends about this long forgotten place and modern scientists did actually find a sunken land mass in the area and named it Mauritia, after a nearby island Mauritius.

This popular labradorite is also called Lemurian Blue and is mined in the Ihosy and Ihorombe regions of Southern Madagascar. A well known quarry is owned by the Norcross-Madagscar Group near Maniry. It is approximately 20 sq. km and mines and sells smaller finished labradorite products as well as large raw stone for architectural uses. They also mine other gemstones and minerals.

Did labradorite have cultural significance to indigenous people?

An Inuit legend says that labradorites have remnants of the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, captured inside of them. A warrior freed the Northern Lights into the sky with one blow of his spear and some of the lights remained captured inside the stones. The legend is referred to as an Inuit legend, but the Beothuks were an Algonkian Indian tribe whose traditional territory was Newfoundland Island. Labradorite was named for the Labrador region of Canada which is the mainland directly Northwest of Newfoundland. The Inuits traditional lands were further North. Not much can be found of the origins of this old legend and whether or not it was an Indian or Eskimo story.

When did labradorite first become popular in European fashion?

The English and French of the 1700's made labradorite a popular stone. During the times shortly after the discovery of labradorite in the late 1700's, the Georgian styles of England and Louis styles of France were most popular.