Popular with the Romans, who thought it was formed out of moonlight, and in India, where it is considered a sacred stone, moonstone is the most valuable variety of feldspar with an iridescent sheen known as adularescence.
A symbol of the Third Eye, moonstone is said to balance yin/yang, protect against epilepsy and sun stroke, cure headaches and nose bleeds, and ensure a high yield in crops. It can help men open their feminine emotional aspects and cool a fever if applied to both temples.
During the full moon, men can use it to predict the future by placing it in their mouths but women should avoid it at this time and also when menstruating.
A favorite of Art Nouveau jewelers – particularly Moonstone Cats Eye Jewelry, it is a highly prized gift for lovers as it arouses tender passion. It also accentuates the wearer’s nature, whether positive or negative.
Moonstone’s characteristic shimmer is known as schiller or adularescence, and is caused by the intergrowth of two different types of feldspar with different refractive indexes. Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed cabochon shape to maximize this effect.
Moonstones come in a variety of colors, ranging from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. Moonstone cats eye is also available. Clarity ranges from transparent to translucent.
Sometimes moonstone will have an eye as well as a sheen. Another related feldspar variety is known as rainbow moonstone. In this variety of labradorite feldspar, the sheen is a variety of rainbow hues.
The best moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color. Fine moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. It is mined in Sri Lanka and Southern India. The rainbow variety can also be found in Madagascar.
Blue flash and rainbow moonstones have recently become very popular. Once considered plentiful, they are now rather scarce due to increased demand and prices have risen.
Moonstones are often carved into mini art works with “man in the moon” faces popular. The cost of carvings may fall into the moderate category if they are very unusual.