Moonstone and Rainbow Moonstone – How do they compare?

Generally speaking, Moonstone is one of the most popular gemstones on the planet. It belongs to the Feldspar group of minerals and is fairly common in all areas of the world. Other gemstones that belong to this group include Sunstone and Labradorite.

There are several types of moonstone and all of them share the same basic characteristics. All moonstones have a similar mineral composition. They are made from orthoclase and albite. These form layers that stack over time and give the gems their unique look.

The Feldspar minerals group make up approx. 60% of the plant's crust. This makes gemstones such as moonstones fairly common.  Another consequence of the abundance of Feldspar minerals is the fact that you can find a very wide variety of moonstones.

However, regardless of their color, all moonstones exhibit a characteristic called adularescence. The phenomenon occurs when light passes through the surface of the gem and is scattered as it goes through each layer of orthoclase and albite. A gem’s adularescence is what gives it its glow and even its "Catseye" effect.

What are moonstones?

Moonstone is the name given to an entire family of gemstones that can be opaque, translucent or transparent. They can also have a wide variety of colors, from green and blue, to beige and peach. These monochromatic gemstones are the most common form of moonstone. They are relatively cheap when uncut and can be found nearly anywhere in the world.

Keep in mind that although moonstone can be found almost in every region, there are areas that produce higher quality gemstones than others. The biggest and most popular moonstone mine in the world is Meetiyagoda. The mine is located in Sri Lanka and the gemstones that are extracted from it have a beautiful blue shine that differentiates them from moonstones extracted from India.

Another popular moonstone mine is in Bihar, in India. The gemstones extracted here also have a blue color, but their shine is different from the ones from Sri Lanka. Other mining locations include Myanmar, Brazil and Australia.

Regardless of where they come from, moonstones will always have the same mineral composition, namely orthoclase and albite. How transparent, translucent or opaque they are is not influenced by the mineral composition of the gemstone, but by how thick the layers are and how many there are.

In terms of powers, moonstone is believed to help individuals balance their emotions and increase their patience. It may also attract good luck and even increase the wearer’s intuition and insight.

What are rainbow moonstones?

Rainbow moonstone is not a form of moonstone, but an entirely different type of gem. While it is considered to be moonstone because it looks similar to its monochromatic counterparts, rainbow moonstone is a form of transparent Labradorite feldspar mineral.

While it does show adularescence, this is a general characteristic of all feldspar minerals, not of moonstones. Some types of rainbow moonstone may even look identical to their orthoclase counterparts, due to their adularescence. This makes it important to always test the gemstone to determine to what mineral family it belongs.

In most cases, rainbow moonstone can be identified by its distinct black tourmaline inclusions. However, not all rainbow moonstones may have these or they may not be as visible as they are on others. If you are unsure what type of gemstone you have, take it to a specialist.

Keep in mind that the value of a gemstone is influenced primarily by its mineral composition, not by its adularescence or color. This means that Moonstones and Rainbow Moonstones may have very different prices.

Rainbow moonstones are believed to have very powerful protective powers. They can be used to deflect negativity and increase the wearer’s creativity, patience, and improve his or her insight. Some cultures also believe that rainbow moonstone can help the wearer find his or her path in life and even bring out their latent psychic abilities.

Rainbow moonstone can be generally found in the same locations where regular moonstone is mined. The biggest mines are located in Sri Lanka, Australia, Mexico, Madagascar, India, and Poland.

How do they compare?

Both types of gemstones have been used in the making of jewelry, over the years. They both present adularescence, but they belong to completely different mineral families. Moonstone is an orthoclase and albite mineral while Rainbow Moonstone is a form of Labradorite.

Both of them can have various colors, ranging from different shades of green and blue to pink and white. While moonstone can be opaque, translucent or transparent, Rainbow Moonstone will always have a milky appearance.

Rainbow Moonstone is not made from orthoclase and albite, but it has orthoclase inclusions. Most examples of this gemstone will have thin, black or grey inclusions throughout their surface. This can sometimes create a patchy pattern. Again, these inclusions will be present regardless of the color of the gemstone.

As far as price is concerned, Moonstones and Rainbow Moonstones are similar. However, Rainbow Moonstones that have a larger number of inclusions may sometimes have lower prices than ones with fewer.

Generally speaking, the price of the gemstone is established by looking at the size, color, and clarity of the gemstones. If the inclusions affect the adularescence of the gemstone, then its price will go down.


Key takeaways

The first thing to remember here is that Rainbow Moonstone is simply another form of Moonstone. It has a similar layered structure as the blue, green or pink gemstones, but it refracts light in a different way from its monochromatic counterparts.

  • Moonstone can be various shades of blue, pink and green. Some gems may appear to have multiple colors;
  • All types of moonstone can be translucent, transparent, or opaque, regardless of color;
  • Rainbow moonstone is simply another type of moonstone;
  • It is believed that Moonstones help individuals find emotional balance and relieves their stress. Some cultures also believed that the gem can be used to see into the future;
  • Rainbow Moonstone is considered to have great protective powers and increase patience;
  • From a geochemical perspective, Rainbow Moonstone is actually a form of transparent Labradorite feldspar mineral. It may look similar to Moonstone, but it has a different chemical composition;


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