LABRADORITE FOR SALE
What Causes Labradorescence?
Labradorescence is the term for the flashy, colorful feature of labradorite. This color display is a result of parallel crystal formations known as lamellar inter-growths that makeup much of the rock. These layered inter-growths result from an incompatible crystal alignment during the cooling of the mafic igneous rock, causing a natural separation and layering effect. When light rays enter these layers, they can refract back and forth in deeper layers, causing a mixing of rays and an alteration of the wavelength that originally entered the stone. The orientation and thickness of these layers are partially responsible for the color that’s presented.
What Colors Can Labradorite Display?
The colors that labradorite displays are caused by light diffraction through the layers of crystal/rock. The common colors are light green, orange-red, light blue and grey, with some of the more sought after colors being “royal blue” and purple. The “spectrolite variety” of labradorite from Finland will often display vibrant dark reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues.
These colors can be seen when viewing a rough specimen of labradorite, however they’re seemingly amplified following the polishing of the stone.
Is Labradorite A Natural Mineral?
Some people are thrown off by some of labradorite's unique properties, but yes it is a natural mineral.
Where Is Labradorite Found?
Labradorite was first discovered in along the coasts of Labrador, Canada around 1770, hence it's name. It had known to the local Inuit tribes tribes for some time before that. Their ancient legends say that the Northern Lights became trapped inside the rocks along the Labrador coast. These rocks were found by an Inuit warrior who freed them them with a spear. Not all of the lights could escape and some of them remained imprisoned creating Labradorite.
Today, Madagascar is currently the largest producer of labradorite in the world, where it is mined in large quantities at several localities on the South side of the Island. Lots of photos of one of the main labradorite quarries can be found here.
Labradorite most often occurs in mafic igneous rock formations. Canada, United States, Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Germany and Finland all have notable labradorite deposits. Finland in particular is known for a gem quality type of labradorite referred to as spectrolite.
What Is Labradorite Composed Of?
Labradorite is a mixture of Albite and Anorthite, often containing a small amount of Orthoclase. Chemical analysis shows that labradorite almost always has a higher Anorthite content percentage (45 - 60%) than the other minerals that make up its overall composition. The twinning of Anorithe and Albite results in parallel lamellae crystal formations that vary in thickness. These parallel crystal structures, combined with light rays, are responsible for the color play known as “labradorescence”.
Varieties Of Labradorite
Spectrolite - A brand named variety of labradorite that displays a richer range of colors than the typical labradorite. It was originally a name given to labradorite from Finland that refracted a wide spectrum of color, however the name has shifted to overall describe labradorite specimens that display this vibrant range of color.
Rainbow Moonstone - There is still debate as to whether rainbow moonstone and labradorite can be considered the same mineral, for they are both members of the feldspar group and both display this colorful flash. The term for this flash/chatoyance in moonstone is “adularescence”.
Is Labradorite And Spectrolite The Same Mineral?
Spectrolite is the name for a variety of labradorite that exhibits a wider variety of iridescent colors. Only a very tiny percentage of labradorite is high enough quality to be considered spectrolite and the pieces tend to be fairly small.
Can Labradorite Form As A Crystal?
Labradorite rarely forms individual crystals, though when it does, they are typically tabular and often twinned. Most labradorite occurs as massive grainy, rounded chunky masses within host igneous rocks.
Uses For Labradorite?
Around the 18th century, labradorite became quite popular for jewelry and was used as an ornamental material for engravings. It is still used to this day in jewelry, clothing, as smaller display pieces and is even cut and polished into everything from tabletops to floor tiles. It has also become popular with the healing crystal community for “aid in concentration, courage and clarity”.
Is Labradorite Fluorescent?
Despite it's amazing color play most labradorite is not fluorescent under UV light. It's been reported that some will fluoresce a very weak blue under long-wave UV, but I've never observed this to be the case.
Will The Color Of Labradorite Fade In The Sunlight?
Some types of minerals and crystals are sensitive to UV light and will fade or change color due to long-term, direct exposure to the sun. In these crystals coloration is caused by certain mineral impurities (such as iron) which chemically change when exposed to UV light. Labradorite will not fade, change color or loose labradorescence due sunlight exposure because of it's chemical structure in inherently very stable.
Will Labradorite Dissolve In Water? Is Labradorite Safe To Put In Water?
Labradorite is a very stable mineral and won't be damaged by being cleaned with or submerged in water, even for some period of time. In fact rough slabs of labradorite are often displayed in tubs of water by dealers as it will demonstrate the color play that will be seen when the material is polished. I even put a few polished pieces of labradorite in a cup of water for several days and saw no ill effects.