This week's #StoneStory: Labradorite!
Labradorite is probably the most popular stone I make jewelry with. The wide range of colors and the eye-catching flash make it a real crowd-pleaser, whether in jewelry or decor items. It can be a little frustrating to work with, depending on how it's cut; from one direction, you might see a brilliant blue flash, but from another direction, you might see a somewhat translucent gray without much color at all. But that amazing flash when I find the right orientation for the stone is completely worth it.
Labradorite is a plagioclase feldspar mineral that is found in various sites around the world. It was first described in
Labrador in Canada, but can be found in Mexico, Finland, Oregon
in the U.S., Madagascar, and Russia, among other places. The distinctive flash (called labradorescence) is caused when light enters the stone and strikes a layered "twinning" surface inside, and reflects off of it. Different surfaces reflect different colors, so light reflecting from different surfaces within the stone cause a multi-colored appearance. Labradorite is a reasonably sturdy material, with Mohs hardness of 6-6.5.
The lore surrounding labradorite is fascinating. According to some sources, the Inuit people called labradorite a "fire stone," and powdered the mineral to treat various ailments. Another story says that the Northern Lights were once trapped within the stones on the coast of Labrador, and one day a warrior found them and struck the stones with his spear. The Northern Lights burst forth and took their place in the sky. But he was unable to free all the light, so some of it remains forever trapped in stone. In Norse myth, labradorite is associated with Bifrost, the bridge that joins Midgard and Asgard.
In contemporary gemstone lore, labradorite is considered an incredibly
spiritual stone. It's thought to be enormously protective, providing a shield against negativity, and is said to temper our internal negativity as well. It's also considered a stone of transformation, enhancing strength, will, and self-worth. It's also associated with the throat chakra, so can be thought to aid communication.