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Florida State Symbols: State Gem Moonstone

06.26.2016

Here's an interesting fact:  Florida's state gem isn't found in Florida!  Florida chose moonstone as the state gemstone to honor the moon landings and all other astronaut controlled space flights that were launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Moonstone is an orthoclase feldspar (feldspar being a group of minerals).  The visual effect is caused by light diffraction withing the layers of the micro-structure of the stone:  alternating layers of orthoclase and albite feldspar form at high temperatures, then cool.  When these layers cool, they cause the adularescent sheen that we all love in moonstone.  This type of feldspar is also refered to as adularia.

This first photo is a high resolution scope shot of the layers of the feldspar from crystalinformation.com

Moonstone comes in white, blue, peach and orange, gray, green and rainbow.  The best moonstones come from Sri Lanka (facet grade transparent with blue flash), Burma, and India, however moonstone is found in many places including the U.S. - just not in Florida!  This photo is of a rough moonstone from Burma showing how it looks once cut into a nice cabocon. How did the ancients ever figure out what this stone would look like cut?  Photo from gia.edu

Since the rough doesn't really show the moonstone's adularescence, it takes a skilled cutter to bring out the desired effect in the stone.  The height of the stone is critical, plus you have to align the axes of the crystal correctly in order to show the light effect.  Faceting requires even more skill to show the desired sheen.  The blue flash moonstone is becoming difficult to find and the price for this stone has risen sharply in the last few years.  This photo is from gia.edu and likely shows Sri Lankan high quality faceted moonstone.

Moonstone has been used to make jewelry for centuries; it was especially popular in Art Nouveau jewelry (1890-1910).  However, moonstone is a 6 - 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and requires some care when wearing.  This gemstone got its name from either the ancient Greeks or Romans (depending on who you read) as they thought the light diffraction in the stones resembled the light of the moon. This next picture is of a lovely peach moonstone cab from gemselect.com

For those who are interested in the uses of and powers of moonstone here are a few attributes of the various moonstones.

Blue and cat's eye moonstones are said to promote clarity and inner vision.  They are helpful in seeing life lessons and help balance yin and yang energies.

White moonstone is said to stiumlate psychic perception.

Peach moonstone is believed to support the heart and stimulate the mind.  It is also helpful to those with weight problems.  Carry or wear one to love and value yourself and assist in separating food from emotional needs.

Rainbow moonstone is believed to defelct negativity and ease emotional trauma.

This last picture shows a rough moonstone crystal that actually shows the blue flash - it's set in a ring made by Beijo Flor and is for sale on Etsy.

 

 

 


 

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