What the moon, the month of June, and ancient civilizations all have in common...
What is Moonstone? What does it have to do with the moon? And what about Rainbow Moonstone- is that the same as moonstone?? If you’re a gem lover, this stone may have caught your eye, and you may have wondered some of these questions or just want to learn more. See below for "crystals at a glace" snapshot, followed with a more in-depth look!
Well, it’s June- which has 3 birthstones, one of which is moonstone- and I do love me some moonstone and the moon, so thought it perfect time to delve into this lustrous beauty!
History & Origins
Dating back to ancient civilizations, moonstone has long been regarded as an enchanting adornment and powerful talisman. In ancient Greece and Rome, it was believed this stone was solidified beams of moonlight, and therefore was linked with their lunar deities- namely Roman goddess Diana, and Greek goddesses Aphrodite, Artemis, and Selene.
It was believed wearing this stone would bring love, good fortune, and was even said if placed in ones mouth during the full moon, one could see the future. In India, it was also linked with the moon and romantic love, and became a traditional wedding gift and thought to aid in the unification of estranged lovers. Legends also claimed it helped wearers gain insight, have prophecies, and became a “traveler’s stone”- to protect those who travel at night under the light of the moon.
Having first been discovered in ancient Rome, it since has spread far and wide, and can be found in Ski Lanka, Southern India, Australia, the US, and beyond, carrying with it such rich history and lore.
How is it formed?
Moonstone belongs to the Feldspar mineral group. The minerals in this family actually make up about 60% of the Earth’s crust!
Despite the abundance of this mineral, only a small fraction is actually gem-quality, and there are lots of varieties to be found. This variety- moonstone- consists of layers of orthoclase and albite. During formation, orthoclase and albite intermingle, then separate into thin, stacked layers as they cool. Ever wonder why moonstone seems to glow from within? That’s why! When light hits these thin layers, the light scatters and creates this distinctive adularescence. You may have seen this same adularescence in other stones within the feldspar family- stones such as labradorite, sunstone, and amazonite to name a few.
(pictured below: some color variations of moonstone)
Moonstone vs. Rainbow Moonstone?
I cannot write about moonstone and not mention its counter-part, rainbow moonstone. Are they the same or what? While moonstone is an orthoclase feldspar (made of potassium sodium aluminum silcate), rainbow moonstone is a plagioclase feldspar (made of calcium sodium aluminum silcate), which means - RAINBOW MOONSTONE is actually the same species as LABRADORITE! *gasp* I know, mind blown.
Some call rainbow moonstone “white labradorite”, as the mineral composition is technically more closely related to labradorite than moonstone. According to the GIA “rainbow moonstone is transparent labradorite, a closely related feldspar mineral with sheen in a variety of iridescent colors. Although it’s technically not moonstone, it’s similar enough that the trade has accepted it as a gem in its own right… to be called moonstone, a mineral’s actual identity is not as important as the beauty of its adularescence.” So, while moonstone and rainbow moonstone are closely related and hold similarities, they have their distinctions, and are regarded as such within the trade. It’s worth noting too that it is common to find speaks or streaks of black in rainbow moonstone- tourmaline inclusions - which is one characteristic that sets them apart.
What does it mean?
With such an illustrious glow and etherial beauty, it’s no wonder moonstone (and rainbow moonstone) are tied with the moon itself, emotion, femininity, and magic. Relating with the moon and her phases, moonstone is perfect for ones own transitions, ushering in stability through change. A stone of “new beginnings”.
Just as the moon is tied with our emotions and feminine energy, moonstone is said to bring an inner calm to ones emotions, heightens our intuition, insight, and promotes fertility and women’s reproductive health. Long associated with the lunar deities of ancient civilizations, this stone carries with it divine feminine and goddess energy - appropriate for anyone accessing more feminine aspects of their nature. Also considered a stone of light and healing, moonstone is perfect for promoting receptivity, dispelling negativity, and welcoming softness and divine love.
Chakra + Zodiac connection
Connected with the third eye and crown chakra, moonstone is beneficial in meditation, sharpening ones insight, and tapping into your psychic abilities and intuition. The calmness that comes with moonstone can aid in patience and clarity, dreaming higher and seeing the bigger picture.
Moonstones can be worn by any zodiac sign of course, but it is strongly linked with Geminis and Cancers. Being the birthstone of June, both of these signs may find a familiarity with moonstone. For Geminis, sometimes known to experience emotions quickly swinging from one extreme to another, moonstone can aid in promoting more emotional stability. As for Cancers, with their ruling planet of the Moon, the connection is potent and as soothing as calm waters. For cancers, typically also being influenced strongly by emotions, moonstone can remind to not get swept away, and to see the bigger picture at work.
I aint gonna lie, Feldspar is one of my favorite minerals! I especially adore moonstone, rainbow moonstone, and labradorite, and while I work with a variety of gemstones, I always find myself going back to these. Below are a few rainbow moonstone pieces currently available! Be sure to follow along, to see what new feldspar beauties get added to the shop :)
- June is one of the few months that has 3 birthstones- one of which is moonstone, along with pearl and alexandrite.
- Watch out - often confused for moonstone is Opalite - this is not at all related and in fact is man-made glass!
- Rainbow moonstone is technically a “white labradorite”, due to the chemical composition. However, it is still the same family as moonstone and accepted in the trade.
- While moonstone dates back to ancient Rome, it wasn’t until the 1900s during the Art Nouevu era that it became a focal point, and then again reemerged in the 1960s during the “flower child” era, becoming popular for their ethereal qualities.
- The glow you see in moonstone is from an optical phenomenon known as adularescence. This occurs due to the thin, stacked layers within the stone. When light hits the stone, it scatters within and outwards, creating dreamy illumination.
If you've made it this far, thank you so much for delving into this beautiful and fascinating stone with me! I had fun researching and writing about one of my favorite stones, and I hope you had fun reading about it. If so, I'd love to hear from you! Please leave me a note below and let me know what you think :)
Do you have any moonstone? Any cool facts about this stone that you loved reading about?
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