Labradorite

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Gemstone Family - Plagioclase Feldspar

Mohs' scale - 6 (The Mohs' scale 1 to 10 indicates a gem's scratch hardness, with 10 Mohs the hardest)

Colours - Occurs in orange, yellow, colourless and red but the material that shows a play of colour is the most popular for use in jewellery

Labradorite is one of six species in the plagioclase feldspar series and from this six is the most commonly faceted as a gem. This fascinating stone, which offers a range of colours and optical effects, has become a firm favourite with jewellery makers and buyers. Labradorite displays a metallic rainbow effect similar to that of black opal, except with larger colour spots. This effect is called labradorescence. The colours are produced by the interference of light at the junctions of internal structures. The material can be transparent orange, yellow, colourless and red. Alternatively, and most popular, labradorite can have a semi-opaque grey-black to grey-brown body colour with flashes of blues, greens, yellows and oranges that appear when it is moved in light.

A few interesting facts about Labradorite

The stone is named after its source in Labrador, Canada.

The flashes of colour show best in flat, polished plates and in jewellery which allows for maximum movement of the stone.