The moonstone is named after its white color and the strange play of light. Which reminded people in ancient times of the wax and wane of the moon.
Moonstones are amazing gemstones that are very affordable, but unfortunately are slowly getting pricier because of increasing demand and scarcity. So make sure you get your hands on one of these beautiful gemstones while the getting is good.
What is Moonstone?
The moonstone is a variety of feldspar and is closely related to labradorite and sunstone. Moonstone is also known under the symbolic name selenite, after the Greek goddess of the moon Selene.
This opalescent gemstone usually has a white or blue sheen to it. Other colors such as green, brown, red and black can be found as well in various shades.
The strange play of light is called adularescence and is the most valued property of a moonstone. Colorless stones with blue color that seems to float above the surface of the stone when you move it around is a sign of strong adularescence. These gemstones are getting increasingly rare and prices are moving up accordingly.
Moonstone can be found in India, Madagascar, Burma, Brazil, Sri Lanka and the USA. With a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on Mohs hardness scale it is fairly resistant, though it is sensitive to sudden pressure changes. Moonstone is the birthstone of June along with pearls.
Taking Care of Your Moonstones
Moonstone is a fairly soft and brittle gemstone, luckily it is mostly cut en cabochon which increases its wearability. Here are a few tips to make sure you can enjoy your moonstone as long as possible:
- Due to its medium hardness you should be careful with physical activities, small scratches can quickly dull your moonstone forcing you to get it repolished.
- Cleaning should be done with warm water and a mild soap, I would stay away from steam and ultrasonic jewelry cleaners. If just water and soap is not enough you could use a mild diluted detergent.
- Detergent that contains bleach or acids should not be used they could damage the stone as well as your jewelry.
- Store it away from other gemstones, its medium hardness means that it can be scratched by most faceted gemstones. The moonstone itself can scratch certain other stones like lapis lazuli or turquoise.
- Make sure you dry your moonstone after cleaning or after wearing it in the rain. Use a soft cloth and let it breathe for a few minutes before you store it.
Moonstone Buying Guide
The most important quality for the price of a moonstone is its color. White stones with strong blue adularescence are the most expensive. A high quality white moonstone can be bought for between $5 and $10 per carat depending on cut.
While a high quality rainbow moonstone will be $30 per carat for small moonstones and quickly move up from there for the larger ones. Enhancements are quite rare, though oiling and waxing is used on white moonstones.
Rainbow moonstones are almost always untreated as most enhancements would make the adularescence less visible and actually reduce the value. Imitations of white moonstone are around but should be fairly easy to spot in person.
If you buy your gemstones online you should stay with a reputable dealer as it can be quite hard to detect these fakes when you just have a picture that the dealer itself provided. Rainbow moonstone imitations are practically non-existent, as their properties are extremely hard to mimic.
Just be aware that you could simply be sent another stone entirely when you buy from a shady site. So you don’t think that just because it’s not imitated that you will be safe.
Virtually all moonstone is polished and not faceted. Faceted moonstones do exist but are fairly uncommon and usually sell for less because the process of faceting damages the adularescence of the stone. Like mentioned before other color moonstones do exist. They are cheaper than the common white moonstone, mainly because they never display the blue sheen that moonstone is renowned for. They can usually be bought for between $2 to $5 per carat.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing a colored moonstone, you should be aware however that they often will look nothing like the moonstones you know and love. Important for moonstone jewelry is that the blue sheen is most visible in larger carat stones. So if you insist on a moonstone ring you should be willing to wear a good sized ring or you might end up with a dull white stone.
Moonstone necklaces or pendants are more to most peoples taste, because larger stones can be used in these without looking gaudy. The price of the larger stones that are needed for these should not really be a concern as moonstones are still readily available in larger sizes.
It is probably best to only buy loose gemstones if you want them for a mineral or gemstone collection or if you want top quality jewelry which could be hard to find in the case of moonstone. The variety of preset jewelry that can be bought should be enough to fulfill almost anyone’s needs.
Moonstone Meaning and Moonstone Healing Properties
According to ancient myths and moonstone legends the moonstone meaning is focused on good fortune. As well as fertility and passion between lovers and visions of the future. In many cultures it was and is simply seen as a calming and healing stone that is closely related to stories about the creation of the moon or to moon goddesses.
Nowadays it is seen as the gemstone of lovers, promoting feelings of happiness and true joy as well as guarding lovers from quarreling and general harm. These powers are most powerful during a full moon.