Jewelry

13 Frequently Asked Questions About Labradorite

Labradorite gemstone frequently asked questions

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Labradorite is a lustrous and shimmering gemstone that displays a wide range of colors.  Its metallic sheen and brilliant flashes of light make it a truly remarkable stone to wear.  Labradorite is primarily valued for its iridescent effect, known as labradorescence, created as a result of light passing through its cracks. This distinct feature is what gives the gemstone its unique look and value.

Although labradorite has been used for centuries, it’s popularity in mainstream jewelry has increased only recently. Let’s take a look at common questions often asked about labradorite and whether it’s the right gemstone for you.

What is Labradorite?

Labraorite pendant

Labradorite pendants by Chrysalis Studios. See these here.

Labradorite is a gemstone that belongs to the plagioclase feldspar family. It’s predominantly found in igneous rocks such as basalt, gabbro, and norite, but it can also be formed in metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.

Geologists first came upon labradorite in the 1770’s, and the gemstone was named after its place of discovery, in Labrador, Canada.  Nowadays, labradorite is not only mined in Canada, but all over the world, in Finland, Australia, Costa Rica, Russia and the United States.

What are the three different types of Labradorite?

Labradorite is classified into three different categories: spectrolite, rainbow moonstone, and andesine.

Spectrolite gemstone display’s a wide range of colors and shades. Rainbow moonstone has a strong shade of blue and is known as schiller. Andesine gemstone is artificially treated for the stone’s natural color to be amplified and enhanced.

Does Labradorite come in different colors?

Even though the gemstone has a naturally dark tone, the effects of iridescence and labradoressence display a prism of colors, making it a lively and vibrant gemstone.  Because of this, labradorite appears colorful and dynamic.

What makes labradorite different to most other gemstones is that the color is not present in the gemstone itself, but is only an illusion caused by light hitting on the imperfections within the stone. Labradorite is made up of several layers of rock that diffracts light and creates a plethora of shades and hues.

What clarity does a Labradorite gemstone have?

Labradorite ring

Labradorite ring by Style Aisle Studio. See it here.

Gemstones are usually rated on their flawlessness, transparency and clarity.  Most are desired for their clear and unblemished surface, but this is not the case with labradorite. Labradorite gemstones are highly valued if they have more flaws, markings, and fractures. This is because, the more cracks they have, the greater the chances for light to be trapped and reflected. Labradorite is also available in opaque, translucent or transparent forms, but is most desired in its translucent state, due to the greater reflection of light.

What cut is the most suitable for a Labradorite gem?

Labradoritegemstones are very challenging to cut and shape. When cutting labradorite, the cutter will shape the stone in a such a manner that maximises the reflection of light and promotes its color. The most valuable labradorites are the ones that are precisely cut to reflect a wide range of colors.

Labradorites are typically cut en cabochon to maximize the sheen of the stone. However, it can also be faceted. The most common cuts for labradorites are round, oval, pear, and marquise. Sometimes, transparent labradorite are also faceted, to increase the intensity of light reflection and sparkle.

How durable are Labradorite gems?

Labradorite gems have a 6 to 6.5 rating on the Mohs scale, which means that they are relatively soft, and can be prone to scratching and damage. But this does not mean that labradorite is a feeble and delicate gemstone. In fact, it can last for a very long time depending on how it’s taken care of and maintained. Too much wear and tear will damage the stone, and the buyer must also be mindful of the design and setting, because this can determine the protection for the stone.  

What are the best ways to take care of a Labradorite stone?

Labradorite studs

Labradorite studs by Artique Boutique Shop. See these here.

A labradorite gemstone can last for a long time if it’s properly cleaned, polished and maintained.

Experts say that it’s best to clean the gemstone with a soft bristled toothbrush rather than ultrasonic or steam cleaners to prevent damage. There is no special solution required to clean labradorite stones, and it’s best washed with mild soapy water. Once the stone is gently washed and scrubbed, it’s must be thoroughly dried before wearing it.

Labradorite will have a longer life, if kept aside during labor intensive tasks. Labradorite rings can be easily damaged if worn during gardening, dishwashing, and doing other menial tasks.  

It’s also advised to remove the stone while applying creams and lotions with harsh chemicals. When storing labradorite stones or jewelry, always keep separate or wrapped in a soft cloth to avoid scratches.   

Can Labradorite gemstones be worn as engagement rings?

Labradorite engagement ring

Labradorite engagement and wedding ring set by Garden Ring. See it here.

Labradorite gemstones are a great choice for brides who want to move away from traditional engagement rings. It’s affordable, unique and stylish, easily matching any style of jewelry, be it bohemian and rustic, or classic and chic.

However, labradorite isn’t highly durable and it can be difficult to maintain. For a ring you plan to wear frequently, labradorite may be too soft and is best avoided. However, if your heart is set on a labradorite engagement ring, there’s no reason not to go for it as long as you’re willing to give it the attention it requires.

Does Labradorite have any symbolic meanings?

The Inuit people believed that labradorite was a symbol of magic and possessed unique mystical powers. They believed that labradorite is the Northern Lights (or the Aurora Borealis) which had been captured and frozen as rocks. According to the myth, a brave and valiant warrior of their tribe freed these lights and sent them back into the skies. Nevertheless, the warrior could not break all the stones, and many labradorite remained, upholding the mystical forces of the northern lights.

In ancient Hindu mythology, labradorite symbolized the Throat Chakra or the Vishuddha. People would wear the gem to activate the throat chakra and to obtain greater social and communication skills.

In contemporary times, labradorite is used as an emblem of rejuvenation and healing. It strengthens the mind and creates balance, by taking away negative thoughts and feelings. Healers also believe that labradorite can cure respiratory illnesses and can even help women with menstrual cramps. Additionally, some naturopaths claim that labradorite can assist the wearer in gaining psychic and intuitive powers.

Does Labradorite look good in jewelry?

Unique labradorite ring

Geometric labradorite ring by Shine Your Star. See it here.

Labradorite looks good in almost all types of jewelry, and can be worn as pendants, earrings, rings, bead bracelets and more. Labradorite easily suits a range of jewelry styles but is commonly formed into rustic or bohemian style jewelry.

Labradorite looks lovely with all kinds of metals, but it appears particularly alluring when set in yellow or rose gold. The rosy hue of gold is thought to be an excellent contrast to the blue-green color of labradorite.

How can you tell the difference between a real and fake Labradorite?

The increasing popularity of labradorite has led to the creation of fake gemstones. It’s important for the buyer to be able to distinguish real labradorite from fake ones. Fake gemstones will not display a change of color when they are rotated and viewed from different angles. They will remain stagnant and will often appear dull and grey at one end of the stone.

Will Labradorite get damaged if exposed to too much water?

Labradorite is mildly sensitive to water and too much exposure can destroy its shine and luster. Although it’s perfectly alright to clean labradorite with water, it should not have prolonged exposure to water. Avoid wearing labradorite rings when swimming or washing dishes.

How expensive is Labradorite?

Good quality labradorite gemstones can fetch up to $40 per carat. These gemstones will have a grey, black, or blue tone with few white veins and lines.  There are also stones that are available for under ten dollars on online shopping platforms like  Etsy. The price and value of labradorite depends on the quality of the stone and its carat weight. 

Don’t forget to factor in the quality of the jewelry setting too. While a loose labradorite stone might not cost much, when set into a high quality setting made of precious metals, the overall value of the piece can be high.

Wrapping Up

Labradorite remains a magical, mysterious and unique gemstone perfect for stylish jewelry with a natural twist. However, because it’s not a precious gemstone or highly valuable, many jewelers don’t carry labradorite jewelry.

To have access to the widest range of labradorite jewelry, we recommend starting your search on Amazon or Etsy, which have extensive ranges from which you can find your perfect piece.