The Gemstone that glows with the attributes of the moon
“Do you believe in magic in a young girls heart?” goes the first line of the 1965 Loving Spoonful song. I was only four years-old and I’m guessing that many of you were not even around yet when the song was released, but whenever I hear these lyrics and bubby beat, it remind me of effervescent moonstone which any girl can claim as her birthstone if she was born in the month of June.
June, by the way, is the only month with three birthstones—the others being alexandrite and pearl. But for those who do believe in the magic of love, then you probably will be thrilled with moonstone. And for those of you who were born in another month like me—you can still wear, enjoy and favor this dreamy, radiant stone with a past filled with lore, legend and numerous meanings.
But let’s start with magic, which has always been associated with the glittery stars and the ‘light of the silvery moon’ set, a glow in the evening sky. And, moonstone definitely reflects its namesake’s enchanted and ethereal reputation throughout different time periods and cultures. From antique to modern jewelry, these gems offer intriguing beauty and equally captivating significance.
Moonstones were held in high esteem throughout history. Variations on the theme of romance and passion as well as protection and luck are all part of the mystical properties of moonstones. What more could you ask for in gem?
The Romans believed that the stone was solid ray of moonlight filled with good fortune. In India it was sacred, given as a traditional wedding gift; while Middle Eastern cultures present it to couples to ensure fertility and a big happy family. From the East to the West, the moonstone’s main attribute is…love. And one of my favorites beliefs about the gem is that that if you put a moonstone in your mouth and gaze out at a full moon you will be able to foretell the future of your romantic life. Other legends include bringing a parted lover back to you, or when two people meet during a full moon and one is wearing a moonstone, they will fall passionately in love. It is associated with promoting harmony and a happy future among couples.
As if that wasn’t enough, moonstones were worn for centuries by travelers for protection and to guide them in the evening hours. They allow one to open up to understanding their own character as well as others and to reveal emotions. They are also associated with hope.
After hearing all of the symbolism, all I want to know is how many I can wear at one time?
Part of the feldspar family, the most rare of the gems originated in Sir Lanka—but moonstones can be found in a diverse range of countries. The stones have a crystal structure that shimmers as light rays are refracted and scattered within the gem. The effect is called adularescence. The more shimmer the stone has, the more valuable it is. If it has a variety of colors—green, blue, purple and pink, then it is a ‘rainbow moonstone’ rather than the more exceptional and higher quality blue moonstone.
During the Victorian era, moonstones enjoyed popularity in cabochon cuts that dangled from necklaces or were set into rings, were accented by rose or mine cut diamonds in earrings, which truly lit up the face. When set into a double heart tied with a ribbon or bow, it enriched the significance of the motif of two people joined together by love.
In the Art Nouveau period it acted as the stone that rebellious artisans would center naturalistic and figurative forms and play off of darkened silver with gold and pliqué-a-jour enameling. Renee Lalique, master of this movement set many of his jewels with blue moonstone. It was in vogue again in the retro period for a brief time set into pink gold with synthetic rubies during and after wartime.
Modern day designers have been working with moonstones since the end of the 20th century—such as Temple St. Clair’s whose neo-classical designs are set into yellow gold and Penny Preville’s who antique inspired pieces are in both white and yellow gold.
More recently designer have been working with slices, polished roughs, large chunky cabochon in round and oval shapes as well baguette, marquise and rose cut smaller moonstones set into eternity bands, hoops and bangles. Independent brands such as Ark Fine Jewelry, Amali Fine Jewelry, Blackbird and the Snow, Nak Armstrong, Margery Hirschey, Alberian & Aulde and a host of other designers create pieces that range from lyrical to celestial to streamlined Art Deco silhouettes.
Personally, moonstone is one of my two favorite gemstones. And, yes I believe in magic with a young girl’s heart. I have put one in my mouth during a full moon, got a phone call from an ex from whom I was separated by distance and even became involved in a relationship while wearing one. Just saying! It’s worth a try even if it isn’t the stone of your birth. Oh, and just to be safe, I also wear two antique moonstone pendants as talisman whenever I travel.