Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Moonstone - Formed From Moonlight

Moonstone is a gemstone that was very popular in ancient Rome, and Romans thought it was actually formed by the rays of the moon. It is a sacred stone in India, and is the birthstone for June. It can range in color from blue, pink, green, peach, yellow, brown, gray or colorless. No matter the color, moonstone is known for its iridescence, and can be transparent to translucent in clarity. This beautiful stone belongs to the large mineral group known as feldspars. Two thirds of all minerals on earth are types of feldspars, and moonstone is the type known as adularia.

The stone is found in various areas of the world, including Sri Lanka, Germany, India, Brazil, Tanzania, Myanmar, Madagascar, Mexico, and The United States. The best quality stones, almost transparent with a blue sheen, usually come from Sri Lanka.

Moonstone was attributed many powers by the ancients. It was believed to bring good fortune, and protect women and children. Some believed that if the stone was held in the mouth during a full moon, the future could be predicted. Its curative properties included promotion of digestion, protection from epilepsy, curing of headaches, and protection against sunstroke.

Uncut moonstones reveal none of the shimmer of light, the iridescence they are known for. It is the skill of the gem cutter that brings forth the iridescence by shaping the stone with a domed top to enhance this quality. Due to the relative softness of the stone, care must be used when wearing it. The stone was very popular in the Art Nouveau movement roughly one hundred years ago.

Moonstone is a gem that varies widely in price. While there is no set standard, price is determined by many factors. The larger and more transparent the stone, the more its value. The finest blue specimens have a three dimensional depth of color that changes when the stone is viewed from different angles. These blue stones are extremely rare and very expensive. But other colors of moonstones are much more affordable, and still display the shimmer of light, iridescence and magic that caused the ancient Romans to think they were formed from moonlight itself. Used in jewelry of many types and price ranges, moonstone can be owned and enjoyed by anyone.

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