One of the most magical gemstones out there, moonstone is known for its beautiful sheen and smooth texture.
Moonstone is highly versatile, suiting a variety of jewelry types. While commonly used in boho designs, moonstones can also be crafted into fine, classic jewelry.
What Is A Moonstone?
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 their 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.
Put simply, adularescence 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. While other gemstones also display adularescence, moonstone tends to have the clearest displays.
Besides adularescence, the moonstone exhibits another phenomenon called chatoyancy, or in layman’s terms ‘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
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
Is Clarity an Important Factor when Choosing Moonstone?
It goes without saying that the clearer the stone, the more valuable it is. Moonstones may have inclusions like tiny tension cracks, which are known as centipedes. These are unsightly and interfere with the adularescence.
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.
What’s the Best Moonstone Cut?
Moonstones are commonly cut into beads, and cabochons, or are faceted.
The best cut for moonstone is cabochon, as it emphasizes adularescence. However, faceting is becoming increasingly popular for moonstones, as this can hide any inclusions in the stone.
One of the most popular cuts for moonstones is the rose cut, which highlights the color and texture of the stone, adding depth and angle.
Moonstones can also be carved and were sometimes used for cameos or intaglios in the past.
What are Moonstone Carat Sizes?
Moonstones are found in both large and small sizes. Jewelers often prefer 1 to 5 carats, which are readily available for jewelry designs.
Larger and clearer stones of about 15 to 20 carats are rare and highly valued.
However, in rare cases, moonstones can come in larger sizes. The largest moonstone ever found was reported to weigh between 300 to 450 carats!
Are Moonstone Engagement Rings a Good Idea?
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.
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 moonstones 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 can last a lifetime.
How is Moonstone Used 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!
1. Moonstone Pendants
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 earrings is a beautiful and eye-catching combination.
Moonstone earrings match any occasion. You can find studs for casual daily wear. Like pearls, they add a touch of class to any outfit. Long beautiful moonstone earrings dress any outfit up straightaway!
You can find bracelets in various designs, some with a large centerpiece moonstone, and others with a string of smaller moonstone beads. They go exceptionally well with all metal colors and look gorgeous for both casual and formal wear.
But if you thought that moonstone is only used in inexpensive costume jewelry, think again. Some of the best designers have worked with moonstone and created stunning collections fit for royalty.
How Do You Clean and Care 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 dishwashing liquid in water and soak the jewelry for 2 to 3 minutes. When you take it 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 should be kept away from excess heat.
Is Moonstone Enhanced?
Moonstones can be color enhanced. This is where a natural moonstone is treated to display a more appealing color.
Although this is an industry-standard and not something to be too worried about, the retailer should inform you if any treatments have been done on the moonstone.
Moonstone vs. Opalite
In terms of imitation, a substance called opalite is sometimes passed off as moonstones. It is a synthetic type of glass that can be found in opaque or clear form. It 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. Here are two main tips to help you identify opalite:
- Opalite often has tiny bubbles as inclusions, whereas moonstone has centipedes.
- 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.
What is Moonstone Meaning and Symbolism?
Moonstone is highly valued in the crystal healing arena. It is believed to be a powerful crystal that holds a lot of healing properties. Some believe that moonstones can harvest the energy given off by the moon.
Moonstones are believed to help you get in touch with your feminine side and help to clarify and enhance your intuition. It helps those who are afraid of change to be more accepting and flexible.
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.
How Do You Buy Moonstone Jewelry Online?
Moonstone jewelry can be found in many online stores, especially because it’s the birthstone for June. Any retailer that offers birthstone jewelry will have moonstones on offer.
When buying online, ensure that you are purchasing 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.
- Etsy: 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 cost thousands.
- Amazon: As it is one of the biggest online retailers worldwide, it’s not surprising that you can find all kinds of moonstone jewelry on Amazon. However, it’s best to ensure you’ve done your due diligence as every retailer has its own store policies.