Want to know the difference between rainbow moonstone and moonstone?
You're in the right place.
In this Learning Guide, I'll answer the most popular questions about these two stones like:
- Is Rainbow Moonstone Fake?
- What are the Healing Properties of Moonstone?
- Is Rainbow Moonstone More Expensive than Moonstone?
Main Differences Between Rainbow Moonstone and Moonstone
- Rainbow moonstone is a labradorite, whereas moonstone is actually moonstone
- Real moonstone has adularescence, whereas rainbow moonstone has labradorescence
- Rainbow moonstone shows many colors, whereas moonstone has a blue or white glow
- Moonstone is cut en cabochon, whereas rainbow moonstone is often faceted for alternative engagement rings.
Rainbow Moonstone vs Moonstone: Origin
Rainbow moonstone is one of the most widespread minerals on the internet today. Many are attracted to it either for its rainbow sheen or its crystal healing properties. Despite it being a popular gemstone, many don't know rainbow moonstone isn't a moonstone. It's just called moonstone.
Instead, the mineral's actual identity is labradorite. Labradorite is a plagioclase feldspar. It may have thin layers of albite, also like moonstone. If you're shopping at various diamond retailers, you might see rainbow moonstone called "white labradorite". It's most often called rainbow moonstone though.
The chemical composition of both rainbow moonstone and moonstone are similar, but not quite the same.
Ancient cultures believed rainbow moonstone and moonstone to be the same stones. It wasn't until much later when the distinction was made. That being said, much of the symbolism is the same for both moonstones and rainbow moonstones. Both stones are associated with the magic of the moon and the crown chakra.
In new age practices with crystals, rainbow moonstone properties are slightly different than moonstone. It is said to bring peace and harmony to the wearer, enhance intuition, and bring psychic connection.
Rainbow moonstone deposits are primarily found in India and Madagascar.
Read also: Moonstone vs Opalite
Moonstone is made up of two minerals: orthoclase and albite. If you'll remember, both moonstone and rainbow moonstone have albite in them.
It's a variety of the feldspar group mineral orthoclase. Genuine moonstone is an orthoclase feldspar and rainbow moonstone is from plagioclase feldspar minerals. Both are feldspar minerals and part of the feldspar mineral group.
Basically, they're like feldspar mineral cousins. Closely related, but different chemical composition. Similar glowing appearance, but with different colors.
Moonstones are made up of alternating layers of orthoclase and albite. The layers of albite separate from the orthoclase in a moonstone.
Almost every ancient civilizations associated moonstone with the moon. They believe they were moonbeams that had solidified into a stone. The moon has always been associated with femininity and children as well.
Today, moonstone and rainbow moonstone have similar metaphysical properties. However, not all of them are the same. Both moonstone and rainbow moonstone are said to bring peace and harmony. Rainbow moonstone is said to have higher vibrations.
Moonstone is said to be a protection stone in addition to its femininity and fertility properties.
It was recommended for women to wear moonstone if they were hoping to become pregnant. This has been something used in ancient cultures, so it's not surprising to see them as metaphysical properties today.
Moonstone gemstones can be found in Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Brazil, United States, and others.
Rainbow Moonstone vs Moonstone: Appearance
The body color of a rainbow moonstone is white. Rainbow moonstone jewelry can be cut en cabochon or faceted. Moon Magic is a popular rainbow moonstone retailer that sells faceted pieces.
Rainbow moonstone is a translucent to transparent labradorite feldspar mineral. When light falls on a rainbow moonstone, you can see rainbow color flashes. This effect is called multicolored adularescence by many, but it's not technically true.
Since rainbow moonstones are labradorite gemstones, their light effect is called labradorescence. Labradorescence gives rainbow moonstone a blue schiller glow from its inclusions. You can see other stones have a schiller effect like sunstone and hematite.
Rainbow moonstone can also be identified by black tourmaline inclusions.
However, most rainbow moonstone jewelry doesn't show them.
Synthetics & Imitations
Rainbow moonstones aren't expensive or valuable stones, so there's no need to synthesize them. Rainbow moonstone are confused with moonstones generally. It's often confused or can be passed off as opalite.
Opalite is a man made gemstone that many confuse with opals. Lab created opal can also look closely related to rainbow moonstone.
Fake rainbow moonstone can be created using polymer clay, but this is usually done for crafting and art purposes, not deceptive practices.
Read also: Opalite vs Opal
Orthoclase moonstone comes in a variety of shades. It can be white, beige, brown, creamy yellow, reddish brown, grey, blue, peach, pink, and transparent colorless. A transparent moonstone gem is the most desirable because of its adularescence.
Adularescence is similar to both labradorite's labradorescence and opal's opalescence. Moonstone has a blue adularescence when cut into cabochons. When the moonstone is tilted at different angles, a white or blue sheen can be seen played across it.
A high quality moonstone gem will have strong blue adularescence. These are often referred to as ceylon moonstones. Fine quality ceylon gemstones come from Sri Lanka.
Any colored moonstone with asterism will raise the price. Asterism is a gemstone phenomena made by light hitting the inclusions in the stone. For moonstones, a four pointed star can be seen. Star gems increase the value.
Unlike rainbow moonstone, moonstones are easily identifiable by their inclusions. They call inclusions in moonstone "centipedes". These little fissures in the stone look like tiny little centipedes with many legs.
Synthetics & Imitations
Moonstone and rainbow moonstone have the same imitations. However, you'll most often see people buying rainbow moonstone and thinking they have actual moonstone. If it's advertised as rainbow moonstone, it's not moonstone. It's up to the buyer to know the trade name from its other identity as white labradorite.
Rainbow Moonstone vs Moonstone: Price & Value
Rainbow moonstone is an inexpensive gem material when faceted or cut into cabochons. They may range from $5-60 per carat, depending on how well cut the stone is. Complex carved pieces will cost more due to the craftsmanship and artistry.
White moonstone and ceylon moonstone can cost between $20 to $125 per carat. Cats eye and star gemstones will raise the prices. If the moonstone has strong adularescence, you can expect to see them more expensive.
Aside from price tag, many people consider wearing rainbow moonstone or moonstone as engagement rings. You can do this, but you might have to replace them. Both stones have a scratch resistance of 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale. That means the surface of these stones will scratch easily.
We're not just talking being hard on your hand either. Dirt and dust will scratch the surface of both moonstone and rainbow moonstone, impacting their glow. It's also easy for the gems to crack, due to the gemstone cleavage.
Thankfully, neither of these are highly expensive, so you could replace if you really wanted to use them as every day jewelry.
While both moonstone and rainbow moonstone are part of the feldspar group, they don't have the same chemical composition. Rainbow moonstone is a variety of labradorite and moonstone is a variety of orthoclase. Both are mined and not synthesized.
Rainbow moonstones have a soft white to transparent body color that rainbow flashes can be seen when angled. It can be cut en cabochon, but is more common to be a faceted gem today.
Genuine moonstones come in a rainbow of colors. The most popular are peach, white, and blue moonstones. Blue and white moonstones should be cut en cabochon to properly display the adularescence of the stone.
Rainbow moonstone isn't an expensive stone, but a ceylon blue moonstone can command much higher prices. The gemstone material is much rarer than rainbow moonstone.
Neither of these two stones make durable jewelry with a mohs scale hardness of 6-6.5 as well as gemstone cleavage and fractures. While not your everyday engagement ring center stone, both of these stones will do great as low impact jewelry like earrings or necklaces.
Read also: Most Popular Diamond Alternatives Today
Moth moonstones and rainbow moonstone can be the perfect stone to add to your collection. when looking for crystals with powerful properties, or wanting to display some moonstone jewelry.