Moonstone: a Favorite Gemstone

Shown above: Carved Moonstone from the National Gem Collection

Moonstones are beautiful gems from the Earth.  During the summer while researching gemstones for a custom design project, I came across some interesting gemstone facts from AGTA, the American Gem Trade Association.

Shown here is a checker board cut moonstone cabochon, set into a sterling silver frame ring. A one of a kind design by Kathleen Lynagh Designs to highlight the gemstone's fine qualities.
Shown here is a checker board cut moonstone cabochon, set into a sterling silver frame ring. A one of a kind design by Kathleen Lynagh Designs to highlight the gemstone’s fine qualities.
The ancient Romans theorized that moonstone, with its unearthly shimmer, was formed from frozen moonlight.

Moonstone - rough and cabbed. Cabochon is approximately 5 ct.
Moonstone – rough and cabbed. Cabochon is approximately 5 ct.
Moonstones come in a variety of colors. The body color can range from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. The clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. The best moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color.

Sometimes moonstone will have an eye as well as sheen. Another related feldspar variety is known as rainbow moonstone. In this variety of labradorite feldspar, the sheen is a variety of rainbow hues, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue.

Fine moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. It is mined in Sri Lanka and Southern India. The rainbow variety can be found in India and Madagascar.

Tiffany
Designed as a cabochon moonstone within a fine twisted rope work frame highlighted with circular-cut sapphires and diamonds, the three row fancy link chain and clasp similarly set, length approximately 470mm, signed Tiffany & Co. Found on the Sotheby’s Auction site.
Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed oval cabochon shape to maximize the effect. Sometimes they are carved to show a man-in-the-moon face. Personally, I like to use fin shaped cut moonstones shown in the picture below.

A trio of rings all handcrafted by Kathleen Lynagh Designs, the center ring is a unique statement ring. A solid sterling silver ring showcasing a fin cut moonstone set in an 18kt gold bezel.
A trio of rings all handcrafted by Kathleen Lynagh Designs, the center ring is a unique statement ring. A solid sterling silver ring showcasing a fin cut moonstone set in an 18kt gold bezel.
Moonstone has a hardness of 6 to 6.5. It should be stored in its own gem bag to prevent scratching. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

KLH

5 thoughts on “Moonstone: a Favorite Gemstone

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  1. Hi KathleenFinally have made it to somewhere that has wi-fi connections.  We have been in Borneo in ocean huts, river lodges and rain forests with no reception at all.  It’s probabaly a good thing, but you do miss not knowing what’s going on in the world. We will be back on the 17th.  I’m really enjoying the trip, but will be glad to be back also.Attached is a photo I took with the i-pad.  Didn’t bring my camera and glad I didn’t.  I’t really humid here and I would probably have dropped it by now.Larry

  2. “Frozen moonlight.” What a beautiful way to describe this unusual gemstone! And of course, your post reminded me of one of the most famous literary moonstones: the one from Wilkie Collins’ nineteenth century novel.

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