by Mary Beth Magee
Moonstones have a hypnotic glow and an enchanting appearance. The subtle color shifts and changing faces of moonstone gems have enticed jewelry lovers since ancient times. Moonstone jewelry was once believed to render wearers invisible. Whether you favor the traditional blue gems or one of the other shades of moonstone, wearing moonstone jewelry will add a mystical dimension to your style. Choose from a wide selection of moonstone rings, moonstone necklaces, moonstone bracelets and moonstone earrings.
Identification: Moonstones are members of the feldspar family, also known as adularia. They are graced with a quality of shimmering beauty that resembles the changing phases of the moon. Moonstones get their shining look from the layers of blue and white minerals. Look for moonstone jewelry with pale blue, white, green, orange and brown gems. Moonstone rates a 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness, so it should be treated with some care.
Geography: Sri Lanka is the historical source of classic blue-white moonstones. Moonstones are also found in Australia, Myanmar, Madagascar, Brazil and the United States. Uncommon moonstone shades are typically found in India.
Cuts: Examine a moonstone before it is cut and polished and you're likely to be disappointed. It takes a master cutter to bring out the luminescent beauty of even the highest quality moonstone. Moonstones are available in a range of cuts. The most popular moonstone cut is the cabochon, which is polished instead of faceted. This allows the layers of the stone to play off one another to create the enchanting appearance. You can also find faceted moonstones, moonstone beads and carved moonstones. Some moonstones may exhibit four-point stars or a dramatic iris reminiscent of cat's eye.
Jewelry selections: Traditionally cut moonstone cabochons show beautifully in rings or pendants. Smaller stones can be used for pins or earrings. Some stones may be carved into fanciful sculptures or shimmering cameos. Faceted moonstones are lovely additions to rings with other gems, such as diamonds. Enhance the subtle glamour of moonstones with motion. A string of moonstone beads or dangling moonstone earrings will demand attention with every movement.
Significance: Those born in June are lucky to have the moonstone as their birthstone. June birthstone jewelry might contain just one simple moonstone or an elaborate set of beautifully carved gems. The moonstone has also been named the state rock of Florida, honoring the state's place in the development of space flight.
Care: Protect your moonstone rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings from scratches and blows. The relative softness of the stone makes it vulnerable to nicks and dings as well as the danger of shattering. Keep your moonstone away from chemicals and cosmetics and store it separately in your jewelry box. Clean moonstone jewelry with a soft cloth and warm water. Have your moonstone necklaces, rings bracelets and earrings buffed by a jeweler if they lose any of their luminescence.