Labradorite, often called “black moonstone” is a feldspar mineral first discovered in 1700. In Inuit lore, Labradorite is associated with the Aurora Borealis, which is what the natives believed gave this stone its luminescence. It is most commonly known as a transformation stone which purifies, protects, and stimulates the creativity of the mind while supporting psychic abilities. This truth-revealing gem balances energy while strengthening the will. Labradorite is a calming stone that relieves stress and anxiety and offers mental clarity to the wearer, making it the ultimate stone of creativity and creation. Although this stone is in high demand and some will try, it is extremely difficult to replicate Labradorite because the natural stone itself contains many complex layers of minerals. Still, it’s good to know what you’re buying so you don’t end up with a fake. Here’s how to identify Labradorite.
First off, what are we looking for in natural labradorite? Naturally, labradorite has a unique play of color that is also visible beneath the stone’s surface. The terms “aurora lights”, “borealis”, and “butterfly wings” have all been used to describe the gorgeous labradorescence of this stone. Real labradorite are usually cut into cabochons whereas fakes are presented in thin slabs. Also, you’ll be able to notice upon close inspection that real labradorite is smooth and glossy, with a bit of translucency to the point that you can observe the layers within.
How to tell if Labradorite is real:
You may not find yourself having to do this very often, but testing whether labradorite is real is a quite simple process. You can do this by simply observing the following:
- Hardness: real labradorite is 6 – 6.5 on the Mohs scale
- Temperature: real labradorite is cold to the touch and won’t warm up completely even after holding for an extended period of time.
- Labradorescence: real labradorite’s luminescence is uneven and can be observed from all angles.
- Stone cleavage: real labradorite has perfect cleavage in two different directions, typically intersecting at about 86 degrees.
- Glow: natural luminescence aside, real labradorite will not glow under UV light.
What does real Labradorite look like?
Because it belongs to a feldspar group of minerals, labradorite will sometimes have the same “flash” of other feldspar minerals such as moonstone, sunstone, and larvikite. The difference is of course in the composition, but in regards to appearance, labradorite will be darker – a grayish, bluish tone and semitransparent. The stone contains an iridescent optical effect of blue and green flashes throughout when it’s rotated or viewed from different angles. Labradorite is a plagioclase feldspar which forms fine, intergrown layers of albite and other feldspars.
*Labradorescence is the effect observed when light hits these layers and the lightwaves interfere with each other, creating flashes of color.
Spectrolite is a variety of labradorite which can be found in Ukraine, Finland and Madagascar. It displays its colors in the same way as labradorite does, but instead in flashes of oranges, reds, and yellows in addition to blue and green. Spectrolite is the most sought after form of labradorite due to its brightness and rarity.
Real labradorite can be identified by its feel as well. The natural stone is hard, dense, and heavy unlike many imitations which are usually made of polymer clay and resin. Natural labradorite cannot be scratched with copper or a steel needle.
How to spot fake Labradorite?
Although it is difficult to recreate the natural effects of real labradorite, there are some who will still try and pass off something else which hardly resembles the real thing. Fake labradorite has a very distinct color and is usually painted in green and blue, but it lacks the luminescence of the real thing. It is also very soft, scratches easily, and is warm to the touch rather than cold. It is also opaque and glows under UV light.
Fakes are often made in this way:
- A black opaque clay is rolled into a thin plate
- The plate is then painted in blues and greens, sometimes blended with a metallic luster.
- It is then baked in an oven to harden the “stone” and seal in the color.
- As soon as it cooled, it is then coated with a thin layer of resin.
Where to get real Labradorite
Labradorite mines are found in many parts of the world, but are usually transported to other countries, so it would be somewhat difficult to trace the origin of your stone. However, you’ll typically find the real thing at smaller sellers and rock and mineral shows. Check the Spirit Magicka Shop for all natural and high quality crystals and gemstones at great prices, including Labradorite.