Labradorite Gemstone Information
When it comes to beautiful gems, many people focus on widely known stones like rubies and diamonds. However, for those who look beyond the gemstones available at major jewelers, labradorite is often a favorite.
The labradorite gemstone is one of the most striking stones around, featuring a unique coloration that you rarely see elsewhere. This makes it a favorite among smaller jewelers and those who embrace belief systems with metaphysical characteristics.
While labradorite is often breathtaking, it is also reasonably affordable. If you’d like to find out more about what the labradorite gemstone has to offer, here’s an overview of its properties, color, meaning, and more.
The labradorite stone isn’t a gem; it’s a mineral. It’s actually comprised of feldspar and is part of the plagioclase series. Typically, a piece of labradorite has distinct, visible striations. Additionally, this gem is known for exhibiting twinning.
One of the defining properties of labradorite is labradorescence, a form of play-of-color. It occurs when light strikes a twinning surface inside the labradorite piece, leading it to reflect various hues.
At times, distinguishing the labradorite gemstone from others in the plagioclase series is incredibly challenging. If the characteristic labradorescence isn’t present, which can occur in some labradorite stones, it is hard to tell it apart from other gems that are part of the same class.
The labradorite crystal is best known for its labradorescence. This play-of-color phenomenon means the labradorite stone can exhibit a wide area of hues in a single piece.
Usually, the most dominant color in a labradorite gem is a brilliant blue. However, it can also shimmer with emerald greens, fiery reds, rich oranges, and bold yellows.
Labradorite stones with the highest degree of labradorescence are typically viewed as the most valuable. Those that only shine blue or with a minimal amount of other hues aren’t considered as desirable.
The History of Labradorite
Generally speaking, labradorite is an ornamental stone. It has been used to create jewelry, and some larger pieces have been carved into various shapes. Otherwise, it isn’t widely used for other purposes.
There is a legend that says that the Northern Lights were once captured within a stone. When a warrior found the trapped lights, he freed most of them by striking the stone with his spear. However, some remained in the labradorite mineral, giving it its characteristic appearance.
Where Is Labradorite Found
The name “labradorite” is actually an homage to where the stone was first discovered: Labrador, Canada. It was originally found there in 1770.
However, there are other sources. Some deposits have been discovered in Finland, for example, where it was named “spectrolite.” Madagascar and Russia also have labradorite, often with a gray or black base. Transparent labradorite with the desirable play-of-color has even been found in India, though only in small quantities.
The state of Oregon has also produced some transparent labradorite in a range of colors, including blue, red, orange, green, yellow, and clear. Pieces from Oregon typically lack labradorescence. However, they may contain some copper, creating a different kind of flash.
Usually, labradorite is found in various igneous rocks. It can be the most abundant mineral present in stones like anorthosite, basalt, norite, and gabbro. However, it can also be with metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
Overall, labradorite isn’t typically found in mass-produced jewelry, such as what you would find at a major jewelry store chain. However, it is incredibly popular with smaller designers, predominately due to the stone’s fantastic play-of-color and iridescent qualities.
By and large, labradorite tends to be polished instead of faceted. You can typically find labradorite cabochons and labradorite beads with relative ease. Those approaches allow the various colors to really shine, which is why most independent jewelry creators favor them.
Labradorite rings and pendants typically feature dramatic cabochons, as a larger sized stone makes it easier for the wearer to enjoy the play-of-color. For a labradorite necklace or labradorite bracelet, beads are often a popular approach. Labradorite earrings may include some of both.
As for supporting metals, silver, white gold, and yellow gold are all popular choices. Generally, you won’t find labradorite paired with platinum, mainly because the stone isn’t viewed as overly valuable, and smaller jewelers often don’t favor that metal.
Many belief systems ascribe meanings to stones. When it comes to the meaning of labradorite, it depends somewhat on the belief system involved. Based on its wide range of potential coloring, labradorite could align with several chakras, particularly the throat and third eye chakras.
For some, the labradorite stone meaning focuses on protection. Certain people think that it can shield a person from misfortune or negativity or help a person overcome their fears. Its water-like visual qualities lead some to associate labradorite with calmness and serenity, as well.
When it comes to labradorite healing properties, it’s important to note that, while some believe holding, wearing, or meditating on a stone can provide a physical benefit, that isn’t scientifically proven. Stones of any kind should not be used as stand-ins for healthcare or treatment by a medical professional. However, in most cases, possessing a gemstone doesn’t put a person at risk, either. As a result, if wearing, holding, or meditating on labradorite makes you feel better, then doing so is probably fine.
Stones Similar to Labradorite
By and large, there aren’t any stones that are highly similar to labradorite gems that feature labradorescence. It is a unique characteristic, even among other gems that are known for a play-of-color, like opal.
However, some pieces of moonstone may have a reasonable resemblance to labradorite. Like labradorite, moonstone is part of the feldspar family and is known for its adularescence, another form of play-of-color. But, while labradorite’s base hue tends to lean darker, moonstone is usually lighter, with a base color closer to a milky white or light gray.
When labradorescence is removed from the equation, labradorite can be hard to distinguish from many other stones in the plagioclase series and other feldspars. As a result, many of them could be reasonable stand-ins. Otherwise, it would depend on the exact labradorite color you want to replicate.