Moonstone is without doubt one of the most beautiful and popular gemstones and features frequently in Bowerbird designs. Much admired by ancient civilizations, it was revered by both the Greeks and the Romans who treasured its connection with their lunar gods.
Moonstone are found in a range of soft coloured hues including blue, grey, white, pink, peach, green and brown.
The ‘adularescence’, or sheen, was said to be reflective of moonlight on water. Moonstone is a feldspar mineral that projects a stunning sheen, caused by light diffraction within its structure which consists of varying layers of micro-crystals. The thickness of these layers determines the colour of the sheen, with fine layers producing the blue sheen in colourless moonstones, whereas thicker layers produce a whiter sheen. Moonstone can on occasion also be found with a cat’s eye or star structure.
The provenance of this gorgeous gemstone varies. The most admired and valued moonstones are found in Sri Lanka. Colourless and transparent with a blue sheen, they are subject to ever rising prices due to depleted sources. Moonstones are also found in Australia and USA, India, Myanmar and Madagascar. Stones from India are generally more abundant (for now!) and also more affordable, coming in green, brown, grey or orange hues.
Moonstones score a 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness, so are relatively soft, compared to the hardest gemstones diamond and sapphire - at 10 and 9 respectively. Moonstones can be fragile and prone to stress cracking, so are better suited for use in pendants and earrings where they are subject to less wear and tear. If you choose Moonstone for a ring, make it a special occasion piece and treat it lovingly.
Moonstones have a rich and varied history. In addition to the many legends and spiritual meanings attached to them, Moonstones were adopted as the as the Florida State Gemstone in 1970 to commemorate the Apollo Moon landing. Said to protect travellers at night and bring good dreams, love and fertility, Moonstones may just take you to the moon and back.
More recently Ole Lynggard of Denmark made the Midnight Tiara with gold leaves diamonds and moonstones which they lend to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark – it is clear that princesses still love moonstones!
There are a myriad of reasons to covet them!