Gemstone Index: Moonstone
With its ghostly glow, this feldspar stone almost seems magical. High-quality rainbow moonstone is usually chatoyant and sometimes displays a strong cat's eye. The floating-light phenomenon and sheen of moonstone are called adularescence or schiller. The light is scattered by alternating layers of two kinds of feldspar and produces a misty luster of white, dull yellow, yellow-gray or greenish-gray. The stone's main color also comes in shades of peach and gray. Incipient cleavage cracks often are visible inside the gemstone. Rainbow moonstone is a close relative of labradorite. It can be confused with selenite gypsum, but while selenite is very soft and can be scratched with a fingernail, moonstone is relatively hard. Moonstone is the birthstone for June in Europe, but in the United States it shares that distinction with alexandrite and pearl. Moonstone will pick up colors you wear, making it a versatile gemstone in fashion. However, colors are not its only allure; many women love moonstone because its sheen is simply stunning against a basic black dress!
The Romans thought moonstone was formed out of moonlight and began wearing it in jewelry around 100 A.D. The gemstone has always been considered sacred in India, and Europeans of the Middle Ages thought by looking into a moonstone, you would fall into a deep sleep and see the future. Moonstone was very popular early in the 20th century and was used extensively in art nouveau jewelry. Legend suggests that moonstone is supposed to awaken tender passions if placed beneath the tongues of lovers during a full moon. In addition, it has been recommended that holding a moonstone in the mouth will refresh one's memory. The gemstone is believed to be protective for women and babies and to soothe and balance the emotions. Many believe it to align vertebrae and act as a digestive aid. Sri Lanka produces the highest-quality moonstones. It is also found in Brazil, Europe, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Tanzania and the U.S.A. (Pennsylvania and Virginia).
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