I was visiting with a wonderful friend in Texas recently, and she mentioned that she has a 'love affair' with Labradorite. "Well," she corrected herself, "It's more of an obsession." I can relate! To me, Labradorite is one of the most beautiful stones in the world. I think others may agree, including gemologists and geologists, as the term "labradorescence" is used to describe the strong play of iridescent blue, green, red, orange and yellow often found in the highest quality gemstones. It is a fascinating detail that the appearance is not actually a display of colors reflected from the surface of the gemstone; rather, light enters the stone, strikes a twinning* surface within the stone, and reflects from it. The color seen by the observer is the color of light reflected from that twinning surface. Different twinning surfaces within the stone reflect different colors of light.
[*Twinning is a concept a bit difficult to explain -- but in essence, "Twins" form as a result of an error during crystallization. Such 'flaws' in the crystal structure occur during growth or during changes in phases such as from a high temperature phase to a low temperature phase. Instead of a "normal" single crystal, twins will often appear doubled where two crystals appear to be growing out of or into each other, like Siamese twins.]
The stone, usually gray-green, dark gray, black or grayish-white, is composed in layers that refract light as iridescent flashes of peacock blue, gold, pale green, or coppery red. The predominant blue varies within the light, displaying hues from deepest blue to various shades of pale, almost blue-green. It was discovered in Labrador, Canada, by Moravian missionaries in 1770 who named it for the area. It is, however, referenced in legends by older Inuit tribes, and was known to be in use by the Boethuk peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador. It became a popular gem in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
It's not surprising, given the nature of the stone, that it is often sought out and revered by shamans, diviners, and healers. Lore of the Inuit peoples claim Labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the Aurora Borealis, an ordinary stone that transforms to the extraordinary, shimmering in a mystical light that separates the waking world from unseen realms. Many say it is excellent for awakening one's own awareness of inner spirit, intuition and psychic abilities.
Just to help you visualize some of the beautiful things YOU might want to make with such a stone (or to help you find/buy the lovelies shown), I've included images of my favorite pieces from Etsy artisans in this post. From top to bottom are shown:
Necklace from sarawestermark
Necklace from TheAtelier
Necklace from Zadalia
Until Next Time,