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June Birthstone Spotlight: Moonstone

If you were born in the month of June then you were lucky enough to have several birthstones associated with your month of birth. Of these Moonstone is a popular choice. 

What is Moonstone?

A gemstone of mystery and magic, of moonlit water and shimmering hues. moonstone carries intrigue and romance all of its own.

Moonstone is a member of the Feldspar family (alongside Sunstone, Amazonite and Labradorite), which makes up approximately 60% of the earth’s crust. Due to being so prolific, it’s no surprise to discover that moonstone can be found worldwide. Though most stones used commercially and in jewellery tend to come from Sri Lanka.

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A Brief History of Moonstones

Moonstone was used by the Romans around 2000 years ago. They claimed that the stone was the result of captured moonlight and imbibed with powers of protection from seizures, sunstroke and headaches.

In modern times the moonstone is linked with attracting love to its wearer. In terms of Indian healing and the chakra system, moonstone is linked to the third eye area, and to this day is still considered to be a sacred stone.

Other popular metaphysical connections are that moonstone can amplify your natural intuition, can help you accept changes more fluidly, bring calm and clarity to the mind and bring peace to its wearer.

The Colours of Moonstone

Moonstone is most prominently seen as a translucent white gemstone. However, it also comes in rainbow moonstone (containing many colours) alongside several other colours and compositions too. This includes pale grey, brown, blue, yellow, green, peach and milky pink.

The reason is due to containing two different kinds of feldspar, which both reflect light in a different way. This creates what we know as the shimmering glow, or sheen that dances across the surface of the moonstone. It’s also called schiller, or adularescence (leading to its alternative, lesser-known name of adularia for moonstone). Moonstone has another effect also, which is called chatoyancy. This is the formal name for what we call the ‘cats eye effect‘ in the gemstone. It can be seen as an intense band of light that’s reflected off the stone from one side to the other in a linear fashion. Similar to the long oblique pupil of a cats eye.

Cleaning Moonstone Jewellery

  • Moonstone is best cleaned by dipping in warm water with a little non-abrasive dishwater soap. Rinsing and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Just a few minutes in the water is usually enough to loosen any dirt.
  • A soft toothbrush can also be used with soapy water to remove any stubborn dirt.
  • Ensure it’s completely dry before storing.
  • Due to being a fairly soft stone moonstone can lose its polished sheen when scratched. To reduce this, store it in its own small bag or pouch away from harder stones that may scratch its surface. 
  • Avoid extremes of heat that can damage the stone. 
  • Also, moonstone is considered unsuitable for cleaning with steam or ultrasonic cleaners, which could cause damage to your stones. 

Choosing Moonstone Jewellery

The metals of fine jewellery are a great way to set off the gorgeous sheen of moonstone. There are a few considerations you may like to look at when selecting your moonstone jewellery. Primarily we will look at the moonstone itself, as we have other articles covering different metal types and their benefits.

Sheen of Moonstone

Moonstones all have their individual sheen across their surface. This might be a wide area or a narrower area of shimmer across the stone. A blue sheen is very highly sought after. Particularly when there is a wide area of the sheen in the centre of the stone. However other colours and natural variations can be desirable, depending on individual taste. Its worth looking at a few different varieties and colourations of moonstone before deciding on which type you prefer for your jewellery. If you do have other items of moonstone jewellery in your collection then have it to hand when looking at stones. Whereas it’s extremely unlikely you will find a match, you should be able to find a number of options that complement each other and give you a lovely and unique moonstone jewellery set.

Moonstone Cut

The popularity of Moonstone has resulted in a number of cuts available. From smooth cabochons to faceted stones and rose cut. Traditionally beads and cabochons were the most popular way to show off a moonstone. They are still a good way to display the moonstone’s natural features. Big smooth areas allow the sheen and adularescence of moonstone to be shown to maximum effect. After this, the rose cut has gained popularity as a favourite. The flat-based design is almost a hybrid between faceted and cabochon. It is another way moonstone’s colouration and features can be shown, whilst adding depth and angles to catch the light and add interest. Then there’s faceted, which tend to look similar in appearance to the way diamonds are cut. Faceted moonstones are also popular for their ability to hide inclusions inside the stone. 

Moonstone Clarity

Inclusions are common in moonstones and usually undesirable as they devalue the stone somewhat. Typically things like tiny tension cracks called centipedes, which can be eye-visible (as opposed to eye-clean, meaning only visible under a magnifier),  and spoil the look of a moonstone. Though the last few years have seen a small trend for natural inclusions and slightly flawed, when they are particularly interesting, alongside raw gemstones. Which means they are set uncut, as pieces of rock.