June Birthstone – Moonstone
June’s next birthstone is moonstone. Also known as the Traveler’s Stone, it’s believed to protect travellers at night and is used to treat insomnia and sleepwalking, encourage sound sleep and create beneficial dreams.
The most common moonstone comes from the mineral adularia, named for an early mining site near Mt. Adular in Switzerland that supplied this gem. This site also birthed the term adularescence, which refers to the stone’s milky glow, like moonlight floating on water.
Moonstone is composed of microscopic layers of feldspar that scatter light to cause this billowy effect of adularescence. Thinner layers produce a bluish sheen and thicker layers look white. Moonstone comes in a range of colours spanning yellow, grey, green, blue, peach and pink sometimes displaying a star or cat’s eye.
The finest classical moonstones, colourlessly transparent with a blue shimmer, come from Sri Lanka. Since these sources of high-quality blue moonstones have essentially been mined out, prices have risen sharply. However, Moonstones are also found in India, Australia, Myanmar, Madagascar and the United States. Indian gemstones – which are brown, green or orange in colour – are more abundant and affordably priced than their classical blue counterparts.
This beautiful gemstone’s weakness is its relatively low hardness of 6 on the Mohs scale, making it prone to stress cracking and cleaving. Care is required with moonstone jewellery like rings or bracelets; brooches and pendants are preferred.
Since ancient times, many cultures have held that moonstone can attune its wearer to the natural rhythms of the moon. Known for its calming, soothing aura, moonstone has been used to treat insomnia and sleepwalking, ward off nightmares and promote vivid dreams. Often associated with love, passion, and fertility, it is a crystal to nurture new love and rekindle old flames. Also known as the Traveler’s Stone, it can protect travellers at night.
How to Buy Moonstone
Generally, the more transparent the stone and the bluer its adularesence (or sheen), the higher its value. Historically, the highest-quality material came from Sri Lanka, but since those sources have essentially dried up, prices of classical blue moonstone have risen sharply.
Color – The most highly favoured moonstones have a colourless, semitransparent to nearly transparent appearance without visible inclusions, and a vivid blue adularescence, known in the trade as blue sheen. The finest moonstone is a gem of glassy purity with a mobile, electric blue shimmer.
Moonstone colours can vary widely: they can be white, green, yellow to brown, or grey to nearly black. In addition to blue, the adularescent effect can also be silver or white.
Clarity – A good moonstone should be as free of inclusions as possible, since visible inclusions can potentially interfere with adularescence.
Cut – Moonstone might be fashioned into beads for strands, but the most common cutting style is the cabochon, a form that displays its phenomenal colour, or colours, to the best advantage. Cabochon dimensions should be uniform and the profile shouldn’t be too flat, so as to emphasise moonstone’s signature sheen.
Carat Weight – Moonstone comes in a wide range of sizes and carat weights. However large, fine quality moonstone is unusual.
Moonstone has a poor toughness and is vulnerable to scratching and also chipping or cleaving if accidentally hit against a hard surface. That’s why you’ll usually find moonstone set into pendants, earrings, and brooches. Moonstone is not typically treated, and cleaning with warm soapy water is always safe. Avoid ultrasonic or steam cleaners.