History / Uses
The alternate name of Moonstone is hecatolite or 'selenite', from the Greek 'selene' ('moon'). The name
moonstone is derived from a visual effect, or pearly and white iridescent sheen, caused by light
reflecting internally in the many layers of feldspar that make up its structure; this is the mysterious
shimmer of light called adularesence.
Moonstone is composed of two feldspar species, orthoclase and albite. The two species are
intermingled. Then, as the newly formed mineral cools, the intergrowth of orthoclase and albite
separates into stacked, alternating layers. When light falls between these thin, flat layers, it scatters in
many directions producing the adularescence phenomenon.
Moonstone has been used as jewellery for centuries, including ancient civilizations. This gemstone is
surrounded by a good deal of mystique and magic. In many cultures, for example in India, it is regarded
as a holy, magical gemstone.
In India, moonstones are also regarded as 'dream stones' which bring the wearer beautiful visions at
night. The Romans admired the moonstone, as they believed it was born from solidified rays of the
moon. The moonstone symbolizes our being in its entirety. With its soft shimmer, it strengthens our
emotional and subconscious aspects.
Major sources are in Brazil, Burma, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.