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One of the most magical gemstones out there, moonstone is known for its beautiful sheen and smooth texture. Moonstones can be worked into various styles of jewelry, and are a favorite gemstone for boho and hippie styles of jewelry. As you’ll see further down, moonstones can also be set in amazing, chic and highly valuable jewelry.
Let’s take a look at how to buy moonstone and the pitfalls to avoid when shopping online.
What Is A Moonstone?
On a romantic note, the moonstone is a gemstone that brings to mind mystery, light and the image of moonlight falling on water.
What makes a moonstone special and sets it apart from other stones is the unique sheen that it displays on its surface. This occurs due to moonstones physical composition. Moonstones are the combination of two feldspar minerals known as orthoclase and albite, which are separated into different layers. When light falls on the moonstone, it scatters between the different layers of the feldspar and causes what is known as adularescence.
What is adularescence, you ask?
Put simply, adularascence refers to the sheen that hovers on the surface of a moonstone, as though there is an internal flow of light. Adularescence has also been described as soft wispy clouds moving on the surface.
Notice the adularescence on this moonstone ring. See it on Etsy.
The moonstone is best known for this property because it is one of the few stones in which it appears very clearly.
Besides adularescence, the moonstone exhibits another phenomenon called chatoyancy or in simple words ‘cat’s eye effect’. This is where an intense band of light is reflected off the stone from vertical end to end, appearing like (you guessed it!) a cat’s eye.
How to Choose Moonstone Color
Blue moonstone is highly sought after. See this ring on Etsy.
Moonstones come in a few different colors, with the most beautiful and sought after being blue. However, it is also found in other colors like pink, peach, green, white, brown and gray which are less precious.
Moonstone that displays adularescence is also highly valued as it adds to the beauty of the stone and can affect how the color appears. Buyers often look for stones that have a wider area of the blue sheen in the center of the stone
Moonstone and Clarity
Moonstones may have inclusions like tiny tension cracks inside it which are known as centipedes.
These are unsightly and interferes with the adularescence. It goes without saying that the clearer the stone, the more valuable it is.
Prices for moonstones range from $10 to $1000, with clear moonstones free of inclusions such as centipedes or unappealing greenish tints commanding the highest prices.
Rose cut moonstone earrings. See them on Etsy.
Moonstones are commonly cut into beads, cabochons or faceted. The best cut for moonstone is cabochons which show the natural phenomena of adularescence within the stone. However, faceted moonstones are increasing in popularity due to its ability of hiding inclusions within the stone.
One of the most popular cuts for moonstone is rose cut as it highlights the color and texture of the stone, adding depth and angles.
Vintage intaglio moonstone ring with diamonds. See it on Etsy.
Moonstones can also be carved and were sometimes used for cameos or intaglios in the past.
Moonstone Carat Sizes
Moonstones are found in both large and small sizes. Jewelers often prefer 1 to 5 carats, which are easily available, for jewelry designs. Larger and clearer stones of about 15 to 20 carats are very rare and of high value. The largest moonstone ever found is supposed to weight between 300 to 450 carats!
Moonstone in Jewelry
Moonstones are a popular gemstone in many types of jewelry for both men and women. They are commonly set in sterling silver, mixed metals, titanium or gold and are designed to optimize the natural sheen and cat’s eye effect which add value to the stone.
They work beautifully with other gemstones and you will often find moonstones in combination with other colored stones.
For those born in June, the moonstone is your birthstone. All the more reason to buy one!
Moonstone Engagement Rings
As the center choice for a ring, a moonstone is eye-catching and unique. The cat’s eye effect and the sheen of the stone really make it stand out. If surrounded by other smaller stones (dark colors work best), the natural color of the moonstone stands out even more.
Moonstone engagement ring to die for. See it on Etsy.
The moonstone’s popularity as the center stone for engagement rings is increasing. Many non-conventional couples who are trying to break away from the traditional diamond ring would find this a beautiful alternative.
However, before you get too excited, bear in mind that the moonstone has a hardness ranking of only 6.0 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. This makes it quite a soft stone compared to sapphires or diamonds and would require care and maintenance to prolong its life.
While we don’t recommend moonstone in engagement rings, if set in a protective setting, like a bezel setting or a halo setting, and taken reasonable care of, a moonstone engagement ring is a unique and beautiful choice.
Moonstone pendant set in gold. See it on Amazon.
While blue moonstone is often the most popular choice for pendants, you can find pendants in other moonstone colors as well.
A moonstone pendant with matching delicate moonstone earrings are a beautiful and eye-catching combination.
Moonstone earrings match any occasion. You can find studs for casual daily wear, and like pearls, they add a touch of class to any outfit. Long beautiful moonstone earrings dress any outfit up straightaway!
This amazing moonstone and diamond bracelet will be beyond most of our budgets but at least we can feast our eyes on it! See it here on Etsy.
You can find moonstone bracelets in various designs, some with a large centerpiece moonstone and others with a string of moonstone beads. They go exceptionally well with silver colored metals or rose gold and look gorgeous for both casual and formal wear.
But if you thought that moonstone is only used in lower cost jewelry, think again. The bracelet featured above consists of moonstones and diamonds and is fit to be worn by a queen!
Cleaning and Caring for Moonstone Jewelry
Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners or steam cleaners when cleaning moonstone jewelry. Instead, simply use a mild, non-abrasive liquid soap and warm water. Put a few drops of dish washing liquid in water and soak the jewelry for 2 to 3 minutes. When you take out it should be clean. If it is still dirty, gently wipe it with a wet cloth or use a soft brush. Ensure that you rinse the piece thoroughly and dry it carefully before you store it away.
As we mentioned before, the moonstone is a relatively soft stone (6 – 6.5 Mohs). This means that it is prone to losing its smooth polish due to surface scratches. Substances with a higher hardness ranking, such as diamonds, can scratch and damage a moonstone. Always store your moonstone jewelry separately, in a jewelry box or a fabric pouch.
Another thing to note is that moonstone is very sensitive to high temperatures and it should be kept away from excess heat.
Enhanced or Imitation Moonstone
Moonstones can be color-enhanced. This is where a natural moonstone is treated to display a more appealing color. This is an industry standard and not something to be too worried about. However, the retailer should inform you if any treatments have been done on the moonstone.
In terms of imitation, a substance called opalite is sometimes passed off as moonstones. It is a man-made type of glass, that can be found in opaque or clear form and gives off a blue glow when seen under light.
Opalite can be indistinguishable to the untrained eye and fraudulent vendors often try to pass it off as moonstone. If you are going to buy a moonstone, make sure you check that the stone is not an imitation.
Here are two main tips to help you identify opalite:
- Opalite often has tiny bubbles within it which moonstones do not have
- Opalite gives off different shades based on whether it is placed on a dark or bright background. Try to place the stone first on a light background and then dark; if it changes shades from milky white to blue, it is highly likely that you are holding an opalite.
Moonstone Meaning and Symbolism
Undeniable beauty. See this ring on Etsy.
Moonstone is highly valued in the crystal healing arena. It is believed to be a powerful crystal that holds a lot of healing properties.
Moonstones are believed to help you get in touch with your feminine side, and helps to clarify and enhance your intuition, and helps those who are afraid of change to be more accepting of this.
This gemstone is claimed to help enhance calmness, clarity of mind, peace, and passion.
*Disclaimer: Jewelry Shopping Guide does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Tips to Help You Buy Moonstone Jewelry
Moonstone jewelry can be found on many online stores. When buying online, ensure that you are buying from a top-rated vendor with a proven track record. Some vendors offer moonstone authenticity certificates and have a clear and reliable returns policy.
If buying a rare and expensive moonstone, ensure that it is evaluated by a gemologist and ask for a certificate of authenticity. Don’t be fooled by an imitation moonstone when shopping, so always check to see if the stone is authentic.
For those that want something more special, unique, and handmade, Etsy has a huge assortment of vendors that offer a variety of moonstone jewelry. Their moonstone jewelry ranges from a few dollars to pieces that costs thousands of dollars.
As it is one of the biggest online retailers worldwide, it’s not surprising that you can find all kinds of moonstone jewelry here. The range is extensive and will take some time to go through, but it’s well worth it.
Of course, since every vendor on Etsy and Amazon have their own policies and rules you might need to do a bit more digging and research, but that’s ultimately worth it in the end when you manage to find the perfect moonstone. Use the site’s extensive rating and review sections to gauge the quality of each product.