Locality - Madagascar Size – 105 x 68 x 30mm Weight – 257g
This half-polished labradorite piece has a natural, unpolished back for a unique multi-textural effect and shows some nice icy blue and green flashes in its rough side. Whilst it proves difficult to see a flash in its polished face, it is still a rather nice specimen.
Labradorite is a variety of plagioclase feldspar consisting between 30-50% albite and 50-70% anorthite and is the only mineral in the plagioclase series that exhibits strong labradorescence (play of colours). It is most often found in mafic igneous rocks such as basalt, gabbro, and norite and is closely related to both moonstone and sunstone. The colour is often dark, black-grey when in low light but shows the shiller effect of labradorescence when turned in the light boasting lustrous, metallic flashes of blue, green, gold, orange and sometimes purple too. Labradorescence is not a display of colours reflected from the surface of the stone, but is instead caused by light entering the stone, striking a twinning surface within it, reflecting back-and-forth and then out from it. The colour seen by the observer is the colour of light reflected from that twinning surface. Different twinning surfaces within the stone reflect different colours of light and so can give the stone a multi-coloured appearance, some rare specimens display the full spectrum! This unusual but beautiful effect is unique to labradorite, and so was named after the mineral. Because of this stunning display of colours, it has become a popular gemstone for jewellery and interior decoration. An exceptional quality labradorite specimen that displays strong labradorescence is often called 'spectrolite', such as those found in Finland and Madagascar.
Labradorite in History
Labradorite was discovered in 1770 by a Moravian missionary on the Isle of Paul, near Nain, Labrador, near Newfoundland, Canada , hence its name. According to a Canadian Inuit legend, the Northern Lights were once trapped in the rocks along the coast of Labrador, and then a wandering Inuit warrior found them and freed the lights with a mighty blow of his spear. However, not all the lights could be freed from the stone, and thus we have the beautiful mineral known as labradorite.