What is Labradorite?
The flash of colour produced by labradorite is so vibrant and metallic, it can be hard to believe it’s natural. It's so distinctive, it's known as labradorescence. Vivid blues and greens are the most common, but it sometimes flashes yellow or purple. For example, the labradorescence in our Labradorite Charleston earrings and our Labradorite Lindy Necklace is a vibrant blue.
Labradorite is the provincial stone of Newfoundland and Labrador. Nain, Labrador was, at one time the main producer of labradorite. Some labradorite also comes from Russia and Madagascar. According to one expert, labradorite from Labrador contains more blue, green, and purple, while labradorite from Madagascar tends to more green and yellow.
Labradorite has also been found in Ontario and Quebec.
Spectrolite, produced in Finland, is also known for spectacular labradorescence and is, in fact, the same gemstone.
Labradorite is a feldspar, in the same class as aventurine, rainbow moonstone, and sunstone. It registers as 6 – 6.5 on the Mohs scale, making it a durable gemstone for jewellery, but it has a tendency to fracture if hit hard, and so should be set in a way that protects its edges in a frame.
Labradorite will flash only on one plane. Seen from any other direction, it will look like a pale grey or translucent stone. For that reason, it’s a tricky gem to cut properly. The cutter must know whether they plan to set the piece horizonally or vertically and must get the cut exactly right, so that it flashes when worn.
Although labradorite was certainly known to the native people of the area, it was given its current name in the 1770’s, by Moravian missionaries visiting the area of Nain, Labrador.
Though stories abound on the internet about labradorite and native legends, usually in association to the aurora borealis, and the gemstone was certainly known to the native people of the region, it's unclear whether the actual source of the legends is native lore or clever marketing.
Mythology and Lore
Crystal practitioners love the electric flash of labradorite. There’s no other gemstone like it. It’s been linked to natural intuitive abilities and is seen as a powerful protector stone that enhances perseverance and strength in the face of adversity.
Labradorite is seen as a generalist stone especially beneficial to the upper chakras.
“Gemstones of the World” by Walter Schumann, Sterling New York, Fifth Edition