Where moonstone is found ?
There is something magical about moonstone. Given the importance of the moon to our ancestors and the resemblance to the moon that they saw in this gemstone, the veneration of which it is the subject is not surprising and today this stone is very popular worn as jewelry. But where does moonstone come from? Where can you find moonstone? Find all the answers in our article.
Place of extraction of the moonstone
To put you in the mood: moonstone mining is a hot, stuffy, dirty job. The mines have to be constantly pumped out to remove the water that seeps through the rock, but for the most part, the locals have built their lives and work around the moonstone mines. Moonstone forms in plutonic and alkaline rocks, especially in granitic pegmatites, as well as in metamorphic rocks, and sometimes in hydrothermal veins. The exploited deposits are mainly in Sri Lanka, but they are also found in India, the United States, Madagascar, Burma, Australia and Brazil, as well as in Tanzania and a few other countries.
The most beautiful moonstones come from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is the most important mining area for moonstone. One mining site in the south of the island is Meetiyaguda, where beautiful moonstone specimens can be found. Meetiyagoda is located between Hikaduwa and Ambalangoda, in the south of the island. It is here that the most beautiful moonstones of the world are extracted: the rainbow moonstone and the blue moonstone of Ceylon. The amount of high quality moonstone that can be made into jewelry is getting smaller and smaller, even in this moonstone rich area. Moonstone, which has always been very rare, is one of the most sought after varieties of feldspar today. Feldspar actually means "field stone" because it enriches the soil with valuable plant nutrients. This family of minerals is known for its gemstones with particularly beautiful optical effects.
It is also found in the following countries and places :
- India (Tamil Nadu), where sanidin is common, generally more colored and satin-like
- Madagascar (Itrongahy), for the yellow orthose or sanidine
- Canada (Mont Saint-Hilaire)
- Mexico, where sanidine or adularia, called valencianite, is found
- United States (State of New Mexico)
- Russia (White Sea)
- Austria (Tyrol), Switzerland (Saint-Gothard)
- France (Cantal, Puy de Dôme)
Origin of the word "moonstone"
Moonstone, also known as "selenite" and "adularia", owes its name to its resemblance to this celestial body. Selenite comes from the Greek word "selene", which means "moon" and is also the name of the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology - selenology - thus deals with the geology of the moon. Adularia is a variety of moonstone found in the Alps and also owes its name to the typical optical effect of moonstone: adularescence. A local gem dealer in Sri Lanka said that moonstone means "no tears" - because when the moon is visible in the sky, it does not rain.
The blue moonstone from Sri Lanka
Moonstone mining in Sri Lanka
Pick up a blue moonstone anywhere in the world, and chances are that this beautiful gemstone comes from a small village in southwestern Sri Lanka called "Meetiyagoda", where it is extracted by hand from a few primitive wells full of water, but also of moon crystals. Local legend has it that the land around Meetiyagoda was blessed by the moon, and the reason is obvious. Beneath this small village lies the world's largest vein of a lava rock containing moonstone called pegmatite. Sri Lankan culture has retained many of its ancient indigenous and astrological beliefs, so the gravel is only washed on days considered lucky. Once clean, the rough stones are cut, usually into a domed oval called a cabochon because this shape shows adularescence to its best effect.
Traditional moonstone mining
One would think that a region so rich in this amazing gemstone would be heavily mined and scarred by machinery, but thanks to the Sri Lankan government's efforts to regulate the mining industry, the Meetiyagoda blue moonstone has been mined in the same environmentally friendly manner for over a hundred years. Digging by hand into the topsoil, miners use coconut wood scaffolding and fern leaves to support and align the sides of the pits as they go.
Once they reach the pegmatite layer, the miners begin tunneling, again using coconut beams to keep the tunnels from collapsing. Collected in buckets, the gravel containing moonstones is then hauled up the shaft by winch, again by hand.
Rarity and quality of mined moonstones
It is increasingly difficult to find high quality moonstones, especially in the weight category above one carat. The "best" moonstones are characterized by a blue sheen that glides smoothly across the surface of the gemstone as the angle of observation changes. The stone must have great purity and a colorless body. The real magic behind the moonstone is called adularescence. After the cut (shape, proportion and polish), color, transparency and purity, adularescence is the decisive characteristic and value criterion. In the case of a rainbow moonstone, iridescence naturally also plays a role.
The optical effect behind the adularescence is a direct result of the unique structural pattern of the moonstone. It consists of tiny inclusions of albite, a sodium aluminum silicate mixed with layers of potassium aluminum silicate or orthoclase from the parent rock. The alternating layers of different feldspars form a lamellar (scaly) structure that causes light interference when the stone is exposed to light. The thin silicate layers refract the light into beautiful colored reflections, while the thicker layers produce a less attractive white to colorless luster. As light enters the stone, it is refracted and scattered, creating this unique and beautiful play of color and light. In the case of moonstones, it appears that the aura of light shines from deep within the stone to its surface. Since the oval cut is generally the one that gives the most carat weight to a stone, it is very often used for moonstones. Very transparent stones can be faceted, but this is extremely rare for moonstones.
Moonstone can be identified by its adularescence. Similar looking gems will lack this phenomenal adularescence, which makes it all the easier to recognize moonstone. Moonstone is a potassium aluminum silicate that is easily identified by its chemical composition. Many similar materials, such as labradorite, are actually plagioclase feldspars, whereas moonstone is a potassium feldspar by composition. If one wishes to distinguish moonstone from other stones, the hardness test is necessary. Other similar gemstones such as opal, chalcedony or ammolite are significantly harder or softer than moonstone. The highest quality moonstone can have an incredible three-dimensional depth of color, which is not found anywhere else; this is what makes the stone almost inimitable.
Legends and traditions around the moonstone
The moonstone is closely related to the moon. It was the stone of the goddess Diana. It is during the full moon that the moonstone displays its greatest power. In the past, it was worn as an amulet to inspire good feelings in its wearer and at the same time protect delicate souls. It is said to be able to reunite estranged lovers. The moonstone is also considered a lucky stone. It does not complete, does not distract - it shows things as they are. It is said that moonstone is able to recognize what really "is". It is also said to be an excellent stone for meditation and to help in the search for one's own self. If placed in the light of the waxing moon, not the full moon or waning moon, it is revitalized. Healers use moonstone to stimulate the pineal gland and harmonize the internal hormonal cycle with the rhythm of nature. Moonstone is a stone of inner growth and strength.
Although it is often considered a stone for women, it can also be beneficial for men and help to open the emotional self. Few gemstones are the subject of as many traditions and legends as moonstone. For thousands of years, it has been revered by cultures around the world. According to Hindu legend, the moonstone was born from the rays of moonlight and it was once believed that if one wore a moonstone in one's mouth during the full moon, one could see one's future. In India, the moonstone is a sacred stone and is generally believed to bring good luck to its wearer. In Arab countries, it is said that women used to sew moonstones into their underwear, as they were considered a symbol of fertility. In ancient Rome, moonstone was associated with the moon and it was speculated that the gemstone was born from drops of moonlight. The stone was attributed the same properties as those associated with the moon, namely femininity, intuition, dreams, emotions, romance and love.
From mining to moonstone jewelry
Find the most beautiful moonstone jewelry in our specialized store. True gemstone lovers should not miss the benefits of wearing moonstone jewelry! Multiple moonstone rings on the same finger are in vogue among women - and allow for countless possibilities. For example, you could accentuate your mysterious side with a moonstone ring and wear a gold ring with warm highlights as a contrast.
Triangular shapes are becoming increasingly popular. Teardrop shaped moonstone are particularly suitable for earrings and earrings. Tight silver choker necklaces are very trendy and a moonstone pendant gives the chain that extra something. A bracelet adorned entirely with moonstones gives off a New Age and hippie vibe. Of course, you can also choose a bracelet with different gems to create a colorful mix. Oversized rings are also a great combination with the gemstone - after all, the mystical looking colorful mists are really enhanced by a big stone. Feel free to browse through all of our offerings in our online store.