LABRADORITE GEMSTONES: A NEW SCHOOL STONE
The other day I was writing a guest post for another jeweler about pearls, a gemstone that has been used as human adornment for over 5,000 years. I started thinking about some of my favorite gemstones, including the flashy, color-shifting labradorite. Labradorite is an unassuming gray gemstone that doesn’t seem like a mineral of much note. However, similar to those 3D posters in the 90’s that changed scenes with movement, this stone can exhibit opulent colors when held at certain angles in natural light. Not all labradorite flashes like this, however. Only a small percentage have this attribute, and I’m proud to say that every labradorite gemstone we use at Vannucci ltd includes this beautiful display.
I mention the depth of history of the pearl because labradorite is a new school stone in the jewelry industry. It wasn’t “discovered” by the Western world and used decoratively until the late 1700’s. Before then, and perhaps even more importantly, labradorite gemstones played a significant, spiritual role in the lives of the Inuit people near Labrador, Canada where the stone has a story.
LABRADORITE: THE NORTHERN LIGHTS GEMSTONE
It is said that one day, the Northern Lights disappeared from the night sky in this Native American tribe’s little corner of the world near Paul Island. Bravely, an Inuit warrior set out to rectify the situation. He found some mysterious rocks near the shoreline of the Atlantic, full of color and shimmering brightly. He broke them open, releasing the northern lights back into the sky. Some of the lights, however, did not leave the stone, leaving us with the magnificent labradorite.
This northern lights effect isn’t actually something that’s in the color of the stone itself. It’s from the way the light plays within the structure of the stone. There are two distinct intersecting directions in the cleavage of the stone - this refers to the atomic structure - that reflect the light in this mesmerizing way. Stones with exceptional color are often given the name "spectrolite."
SUNSTONE: THE SECRET LABRADORITE
I know we’re talking about labradorite, but one of the most interesting and shocking things I’ve learned about this gemstone is that another gem, sunstone, specifically my favorite (possibly top favorite gemstone?) - Oregon Sunstone - is often actually labradorite! WHAAAAAAT? Yes! Labradorite can be mostly translucent. This leaves the copper striations we associate with sunstone to inform that orange-y color. The “schiller”, or color-play effect is there as well. It’s labradorite in disguise! Until further research of labradorite for this article, I had no idea that Oregon Sunstone was being so grievously miscategorized.
But back to the gray stone with the blue-green flash we all know and love as labradorite. Spiritually, it’s a dreamer’s stone, and is said to have highly mystical and protective properties. It is often connected to the enhancement of psychic abilities, and an openness of mind. Labradorite is a particularly useful gemstone companion when you’re going through change, giving you strength and perseverance.
I hope between these fascinating stories and the beauty of the gemstone, you, too, will have heart eyes when you look at jewelry created with labradorite!!