Labradorite

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Displaying brilliant pastels and deep golden colors, labradorite features a spellbinding "black rainbow" of color. When appreciating the iridescent play of colors known as labradorescence, observe the strength and intensity by viewing from different angles, as different colors or even a range of colors may be visible from different positions.

Labradorite Polished
Labradorite Classification
Common Name Labradorite
Species Feldspar
Labradorite Optical Properties
Transparency Semitransparent - Translucent
Refractive Index 1.559-1.568
Tolerance:(+0.005/-0.005)
Birefringence 0.009
Optic Character Biaxial
Optic Sign Positive
Polariscope Reaction Doubly Refractive (DR)
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert to weak white
LWUV: Inert to weak white
Pleochroism Dichroic, colorless and light yellow
Labradorite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 6-6.5
Streak White
Specific Gravity 2.650-2.750 Typical:2.700
Toughness Poor
Inclusions Stones might show repeated twinning, black magnetite needle like inclusions, ilmenite, and metallic platelets that might be hematite. Oregon material will contain tiny orangy yellow copper platelets.
Luster Vitreous
Stability Good
Fracture Uneven, Splintery
Cleavage Perfect, in two directions
Labradorite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name calcium or sodium silicate
Chemical Formula NaAlSi3O8 or CaAl2Si2O8
Crystal System Triclinic
Chemistry Classification Silicate

Labradorite Colors

  • Green Labradorite Green
  • Gray Labradorite Gray
  • Red Labradorite Red
  • Yellow Labradorite Yellow

Alternate Names

Spectrolite

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; United States of America (the); Japan; Dominican Republic (the); Madagascar; Thailand; India; Canada; Mongolia; Pakistan; Unknown; China; Russian Federation (the); Brazil; Mexico; Israel; Nepal

History

Labradorite exhibits that same compelling rainbow of light-against-darkness. It displays breathtaking color. Labradorite is a sanidine feldspar. The beautiful rainbows that it emits have a metallic-like iridescence that is called labradorescence. This is caused by the interference and refraction of light as it enters and passes through the stone. Blues and greens dominate, but look closely and you'll see reds, yellows and oranges frolicking in the light.

Care

Clean with warm water and gentle soap; dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners and avoid harsh chemicals. Labradorite is a 6 - 6 ½ on the Mohs scale. It is seldom treated but may occasionally be oiled.

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More About Labradorite

It's unique. It's color-rich. Wonderful legends have grown up around this stone. Some people believe that labradorite will help you become the person that you are meant to be. An Inuit tale says that, a very long time ago, the Northern Lights fell from the sky and were trapped inside some rocks off the coast of Labrador. An Inuit warrior, seeing the trapped lights, tried to release them. He struck the rocks again and again with his spear, but try as he might, he couldn't release them all. According to the legend, some of the lights remain trapped in the beautiful stones that are labradorite. The next time you wear a piece of labradorite jewelry, imagine that you are wearing your very own piece of the Northern Lights. It's a lovely vision.

Labradorite Gemstone

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Optical Phenomena

Labradorescent

Displaying brilliant pastels and deep golden colors, labradorite features a spellbinding "black rainbow" of color. When appreciating the iridescent play of colors known as labradorescence, observe the strength and intensity by viewing from different angles, as different colors or even a range of colors may be visible from different positions.

Labradorescent Labradorite
Labradorescent Classification
Common Name Labradorescent
Labradorescent Optical Properties
Pleochroism None
Labradorescent Characteristic Physical properties
Inclusions Labradorite might show repeated twinning, black magnetite needle like inclusions, ilmenite, and metallic platelets that might be hematite.
Tim Matthews

Author

Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.