A jewel named after the moon ought to be intriguing, and this June birthstone certainly is. Jewelry enthusiasts will know that the moonstone isn't a recent discovery. It has existed for centuries and was even found buried in early Egyptian tombs.
Many other ancient civilizations have been fascinated by the moonstone, and the primary reason for this is its otherworldly beauty. The sheen that can be noticed on this gem's opaque surface is caused due to the phenomenon called adularescence. It results in a glow that looks akin to a moon lying still under the calm of the ocean. This very appearance has also led to the birth of numerous legends about the moonstone.
Today, this gem is slowly climbing the ladder of popularity as a beautiful choice for those who seek subtle elegance. The fact that it can be designed into high-end jewelry, and not just talismans and artifacts, has increased the demand for this jewel.
Across the world's many cultures, there have been several myths attached to the moonstone. For instance, both ancient Romans and Hindus believed that this gem was born from the moon's drops and beams. It also doesn't come as a surprise that it was associated with several attributes commonly associated with the moon, such as intuition, romance, femininity, dreams, love, and emotions. The moonstone was said to bring good luck and fortune into the lives of those who wear it; some said it could even foretell the future.
This gem has been popular among jewelry enthusiasts and the renowned designers of the Art Nouveau era. This gem is one of the official birthstones for June and is associated with the zodiac sign Pisces. In many parts of the world, especially Germany, the moonstone is more popular than pearls and alexandrites (other gems of June).
Hardness & Strength
The Mohs scale was developed to measure the basic hardness of a gem. This method also helps us gauge their durability. Moonstone has a rating of 6 to 6.5 on this scale, which means it isn't too sturdy. This gem also has a property called double cleavage, which makes it prone to breakage if subjected to a hard blow.
So. if you're considering buying moonstone jewelry, then keep in mind that this beautiful gem is also delicate and needs to be treated with extra love and care.
Unlike many other colored gems, moonstones generally do not require any kind of treatment or enhancements. That said, in rare cases, this jewel might be surface-coated to improve the appearance.
Chalcedony and certain types of synthetic spinel may come across as clones. However, they look cheaper in comparison to the moonstone and are easily distinguishable as well.
Lab-created moonstones are not available in the market yet.
It is important to note that the moonstone is a variety of feldspar, a group of minerals that are spread far and wide across the earth's crust. But feldspars are also extremely diverse, which means the appearance of this gemstone will be varied. Moonstones can be found in a colorless state and even in shades of white. Besides these two, this gem is available in body colors (background hue) ranging from brown, yellow, and green to almost black and grey. Unwanted tints of blue, yellow, or green on the surface of this gem will bring down its value.
But the body color alone isn't enough to evaluate a moonstone. Best quality gems also showcase a vivid adularescence, the sheen that is primarily responsible for this gem's popularity. The orientation of this glow is also important; when it can be easily viewed from different angles, you should know it's a good moonstone.
Quality & Grades
A high-quality moonstone typically has a clean surface and lacks visible inclusions. In general, it is normal for this gem to develop short pairs of cracks that run parallel to one another. This is the result of being subjected to a high-pressure environment during their formative period. Such, and other kinds of inclusions, may have the capability to affect the adularescence; and thereby bringing down the moonstone's value.
During ancient times, this gem was carved and used for creating intaglios or cameos. Soon strands made out of its beads became popular. Currently, cabochon moonstones are frequently used for a variety of jewelry. This particular type of cut is highly preferred as it maximizes the presence of adularescence. Faceted moonstones are also in demand as they help conceal the inclusions while ensuring the glow of the gem doesn't get affected.
A good feature about this gemstone is that it is available in various sizes and carat weights. However, high-quality moonstones with a valuable blue sheen are not easy to find in bigger carat weights.
Based on its various properties, the moonstone can be further distinguished into the following categories of quality:
In terms of quality, the top 1% of moonstones belong to this category. They exude a beautiful colorless blue sheen and do not have eye-visible inclusions.
The top 10% of moonstones belong to this category. These gems do not have eye-visible inclusions and showcase an almost blue sheen.
The top 33% of moonstones belong to this category. Their appearance varies from grey to nearly black. These gems also have slight inclusions.
This category comprises the top 75% of moonstones. They are dark to nearly black in appearance. These gems have visible inclusions on the surface.
A unique iridescence is what makes the moonstone extremely special. But over a period of time, this gem's beauty can get affected due to external factors. It is, therefore, essential to ensure you clean and store this gem correctly.
To be able to do this, please keep the following points in mind.
- As a golden rule, keep aside your moonstone jewelry while performing household chores or strenuous physical activities.
- This gem should be protected from heat as that can lead to surface cracks.
- For cleaning, use warm soapy water. Soak the gem in this solution for approximately five minutes. Do not scrub or brush. Simply rinse off well with plain water.
- To maintain the shine, it is important to protect the moonstone from bleach and other abrasive chemicals.
- Keep in mind that steam and ultrasonic cleaners are not suitable for this gem.
- If you notice visible scratches or any other damage, visit a jewelry professional at your earliest.
- It is recommended to store your moonstone jewelry pieces separately in a felt-lined jewelry box. This will also ensure they don't get scratched by other harder gems.