Shimmering and mysterious, moonstones have been popular across many cultures for centuries and offer jewelry and gemstone lovers far more than meets the eye.
History and Lore
In the Roman and Hindu traditions, moonstones are believed to be solidified moonbeams and many other cultures associate this gem with the celestial sky, lunar deities and bringing magical and beautiful dreams. Ancient Roman natural historian Pliny gave moonstones their name when he wrote that moonstones’ shimmering nature shifted with the phases of the moon. Native American communities associate the wearing of moonstone with enhancing one’s connections to their dreams and balancing emotions. Some believe that wearing a moonstone during a full moon will bring the wearer good luck and increased feelings of love and affection. Moonstones are also associated with the water signs of the zodiac, Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio.
From the pre-15th-early 20th centuries moonstones were considered one of the birthstones for August. In an effort to modernize and standardize birthstones, the Jewelers of America released their own list of birthstones following their meeting in 1912 and moved moonstone from August to June. Other modern birthstones for June include pearl and alexandrite.
How moonstones form
Moonstones get their coveted shimmer during their formation when the two feldspar minerals that comprise this gem, orthoclase and albite, separate into alternating layers. Light plays off of these microscopic layers resulting in a moon-like watery sheen also known as adularescence.
Moonstones are found a variety of locations around the world including the United States, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar and Tanzania.
Moonstones are often cut in smooth cabochon shapes to showcase the shimmering beauty of these gems and they’re available as faceted stones and beads. One of my favorites cuts for moonstone is the faceted roundel bead. This is a faceted bead that has a round perimeter and slightly flat sides where the drill holes are located. This bead-shape is especially striking when pin-set in clusters. While moonstones are gorgeous set in silver, gold or platinum, I especially love the silky white of moonstones highlighted against the rich grays and blacks of oxidized sterling silver.
Caring for moonstone jewelry
Moonstone jewelry can be cleaned with luke-warm water and a very soft tooth-brush or soft cloth. Never use ultrasonic, chemical or steam cleaners on moonstones as they can crack when exposed to very high heat.
Here’s a few of our favorite jewelry designs featuring moonstones