According to tradition, wearing your birthstone or keeping one in your environment brings you many blessings. For those of you with June birthdays looking for birthstone jewelry, you have one of the most magical gems on Earth as your birthstone. Since ancient times, the translucent moonstone – with its constantly shifting and changing colors and dimensions – has been tangibly connected to the magic of the moon. The symbolism attached to a moonstone is substantial, as it has long been considered to have strong spiritual properties.
Moonstone are both prized and famed for their adularescence, the shimmering light that plays over the surface of the stone. Adularescence exists in moonstone because they’re composed of two feldspar species – orthoclase and albite. A moonstone is formed by the earth’s inner heat, which mixes the two elements. As the gem cools, they separate into distinct, stacked layers. Each layer reflects light differently, creating the phenomenon of adularescence. When cut into a cabochon, a moonstone is also capable of displaying asterism (a star) or chatoyancy (a cat’s eye effect).
A Little Moonstone Lore
The use of moonstone as jewelry ornaments dates back to ancient civilizations, particularly Roman and Greek. The Romans believed that it was formed from the solidified rays of the moon and that those who possessed or wore moonstone would receive wisdom, wealth and success in battle.
- Both the Romans and Greeks associated the gem with their lunar goddesses and gods. The ancient Greeks called moonstone Aphroselene, a combination of the names of their goddesses Aphrodite (love) and Selene (moon).
- Other names for moonstone include Ceylonese opal, water opal, fish’s eye, wolf’s eye and girasol. During the waxing of the moon, the gem was used to create love charms and when the moon waned, it was used to foretell the future. In certain ancient cultures, amulets of moonstone were often hung in fruit trees to ensure abundant crops.
- Due to its appearance and its connection to the moon, this gem has a long association with water, which naturally influenced its use as a protective talisman for those at sea. On land, a moonstone was believed to offer protection to those who traveled at night, especially during new moon phases, so it was once called the traveler’s stone.
- It was believed that if one held a moonstone in the mouth, the gem would help the person make the right decision. The moonstone was also credited with having some serious beneficial medical properties. It was not only used to ease insomnia in the past – it apparently offered protection against epilepsy, insanity and “wanderings of the mind”.
- In Asia and Europe, the moonstone was associated with love and fidelity and was often worn when trying to attract a faithful lover.
- In modern China, moonstones are still used to balance the power of yin and yang for better health.
- The stone is still considered sacred in India, where it is named as the Chandra Kanta (the light of Chandra) – associated with the God Chandra. The Chandra Kanta is a powerful occult stone, believed to bring good fortune and the gift of clairvoyance to its bearer.
Types of Moonstone
There are several types of moonstone, each believed to carry a slightly different meaning and energy. Each type of stone also varies in value, depending on the adularescence, where the stone was mined and other factors.
Blue or Cat’s Eye Moonstone:
This rare moonstone promotes clarity of the mind and inner vision, keeping one focused while in a meditative or altered state of awareness. It is believed to be helpful in recognizing emotional patterns and in balancing yin and yang energies.
White is the color of the original moonstone – it carries the energy of the new moon at the height of its power, stimulating psychic perception, vision and dreams. It magnifies one’s emotions and is supportive in driving away nightmares or insomnia.
Referred to as the “new moon stone,” it carries the mysterious and powerful energies of the new moon, said to be a powerful gemstone for magnifying intentions.
This stone possesses a gentle, soothing energy, good for diminishing worry or anxiety. It helps you focus on the positive aspects of life instead of dwelling on the negative – a good type for sensitive adults and children.
This is the most valuable type of moonstones, considered powerful protection that helps deflect negative or harmful energies. It clears and clarifies the emotional body and aura.
The prices and value of moonstone vary depending on the size and quality of the gemstone. The main factors are color, transparency and size. In general, the more transparent a gem is and the more blue its adularescence, the higher the value. Translucent cabochon stones – pearly white or with pleasing body color and adularescence – are common in the market and command relatively modest prices.
For cat’s eyes and the rare star moonstone, expect to pay in proportion to the beauty of eye, size and clarity. In rare instances, the optical phenomenon is multicolored, showing blue with green and/or orange. These moonstones are quite valuable and labeled rainbow moonstone.
Unfortunately, a great deal of low grade, labradorite feldspar is advertised and sold under the name rainbow moonstone, so many consumers new to this gem are surprised by the prices of real gem-grade rainbow stones. By far the most valuable moonstone are those that are colorless, transparent and have a strong blue sheen. Such stones historically came from Burma, but most of this original material has been mined out.
While many excellent stones are found in Sri Lanka, India and Tanzania, most top grade, blue sheen gems available today are passed from one dealer or collector to another and prices are escalating. Stones of slightly lesser grades but equal beauty are found in Brazil, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Canada and the United States.