Thought to be frozen rays of moonlight by the ancient Romans, moonstone’s calm, milky sheen has been associated with lunar deities for thousands of years. The blue shimmering variety of this precious gem typically come from mines in Sri Lanka, but many variations have been found in locations all over the world.
Indian mines have unearthed green, brown, and orange varieties, and rarer qualities include the cat’s eye and star moonstone. High refraction rates through layers of the gemstone give each piece a unique, translucent quality that plays with light in mesmerizing ways.
Also known as adularia from one of its first deposits found in the Mt. Adular region of Switzerland, moonstone gave rise to the term adularescence to denote the optical phenomena of a gentle, drifting white and blue hue.
A symbol of fertility, moonstone is the birthstone for June. With a mild hardness, moonstones can be used for jewelry but care must be taken to ensure protection of the stone’s unique sheen. As mining production slows, the value of top grade moonstone is rising quickly among collectors and traders.