As a former historian (and now a jewel designer) I love stories of the past, of other cultures, of other ways of thinking. And it makes my day when all the stories come together in one gemstone. Searching on the internet I come across a great story of the Labradorite gemstone. It tells ‘how you see the Aurora Borealis in Labradorite?’.
What is Aurora Borealis?
For a very long time, I ask my husband to go to the North of Canada or to the very North of Europe to see the Aurora Borealis. Or ‘Northern Lights’ as we say it. Visiting Iceland I missed the ‘big night’ so I have to go another time.
Aurora Borealis are green, blue, and sometimes a bit whitish lights that glow in the dark nights. Heavy sun activities or sun winds cause this phenomenon. With the sun’s activity, a lot of loaded particles come to the earth and they crash into the atmosphere. The energy is released and causes the beautiful colors or curtains of moving colors in the sky.
The legend of the Labradorite
The legend is from the Inuit people in Canada and grandparents tell the legend to their grandchildren. Once upon a time the lights of Aurora Borealis come to the earth and are trapped inside the rocks on the coasts of Northern Canada, in Labrador.
The grayish rocks become beautiful colored rocks and shine blue and green colors when the night falls. The colored lights seem to go up and down like they move, especially when you move your head a little. A fascinating site. But the Aurora Borealis lights in the sky were gone.
But one day an Inuit Warrior says enough is enough and released the lights by hitting the rocks with his spear. The Aurora Borealis lights fly to the sky so that everybody in that area can enjoy watching the lights again.
Some energy of the lights stays in the rocks, trapped, just to make this rock or gemstone as beautiful as it is now. With a fascinating rainbow of colors inside.
Where is it found?
This wonderful rock is called Labradorite after the site where it is found. The exact spot is Paul’s Island in 1770, near Nain Town of Labrador in Canada. But it is also found in Norway, India, Russia, Madagaskar, and Newfoundland.
The most exceptional spot where this gemstone is found is in some meteorites, just like peridot. That means that somewhere in the universe there is a place where labradorite is found.
The best quality of this gem is found in Finland, where it is called ‘spectrolite’. The difference with the Canadian or Labrador variety is that it is darker and has an opalescent blue with a shimmer when you turn the piece into the light. The spectrolite variety is only discovered in World War II and the Fins called it also ‘falcon’s eye’. This variety has a gemstone quality.
This Finnish spectrolite was sometimes buried in the fields by the traditional local people as an offering to the powerful nature spirits of the land.
What makes Labradorite so special?
The labradorite gemstone is not only beautiful because of the many colors in the gemstone, but also because of the labradorescence effect. Yes, I know, it is a mouthful, but let me explain.
Labradorite is built from little plates of feldspar that all go in one direction. The plates are so small that you hardly see them under a microscope. Labradorescence is a peculiar reflection of light on the gemstone. When you change your position with respect to the light you see different colors in the gem.
Not all the labradorites know this effect and some exhibit a high degree of different lights in the gem. People call them ‘spectrolites’.
01. Not all varieties of this gemstone can be used in jewelry or lapidary items. Only the ones that show an iridescent play of colors are used, not only in jewelry but also as a decoration, for instance of clock faces, building faces (only the lower quality of this gem is used for that) , tabletops, or countertops.
02. You are lucky when you have a piece of jewelry with this gem because it is said that this stone brings you good luck, relieves depression, brings confidence to you, and gives you inspiration. And with the help of this gem, you cooperate better with other people. And after the good luck, the best feature is that it gives you a good night’s sleep.
03. Sometimes the labradorite is called the ‘rainbow moonstone’. Like the moonstone, the labradorite exhibits a coloring effect on the surface of the stone, which is called labradorescence. You see that only when you rotate the stone in the light at an angle.
04. To make things hopefully not more complicated… but there are three varieties of this gemstone:
- there is the rainbow moonstone, which you can recognize on its blue iridescent luster.
- then you get the Finnisch spectrolite, the rarest variety, which illuminates the entire color spectrum
- and the Andesine-Labradorite, that can have a lot of natural colors.
Beautiful jewelry made of labradorite.
Reading this blog post, I bet you fall immediately in love with this extraordinary gemstone. Well, here is an example of handmade designer necklaces made (partly) of labradorite.
Labradorite is not only very beautiful and very intriguing to watch, because every time you change the angle of the bead you see another color hue, but it is also a great gem to combine with. It looks stunning together with rose quartz or Herkimer diamond or with onyx. Thinking of the possibilities I feel the urge to use this gemstone in a piece of jewelry again.
If you love gemstones and gemstone jewelry you will love this PDF full of stories and information about the birthstones. Great to see what your birthstone is, but also perfect when you want a personal gift for your friend. Ask for this PDF. It’s free! Just let me know where I can send your copy to.
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