Rainbow Moonstone History & Meaning - The Lunar Gemstone

Rainbow moonstone is also known as white labradorite. While not a ‘true’ moonstone, rainbow moonstone is a Feldspar mineral. The name ‘labradorite’ referring to Labrador, Canada, where labradorite was first identified and can be found in large quantities.

Raw Rainbow Moonstone

Rainbow Moonstone Properties

Rainbow moonstone (along with other labradorite gemstones) are known for their beautiful shimmering iridescent effect when light sparkles off them. This effect has been known as ‘labradorescence’, a term coined by the Danish geologist Ove Balthasar Bøggild.

Rainbow moonstone has a hardness of 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale, making it quite hard. 

Moonstone History In Ancient Civilizations

Rainbow moonstone seems to emit a ‘glow’ and this radiance has long been associated with the moon and lunar-qualities. Throughout ancient mythologies, rainbow moonstone and moonstones were interchangeable, with no distinctions being made between them until much later.

For the ancient Romans, they believed that all moonstones were made from moonbeams and they associated the Moon with their goddess Diana.

Roman Goddess Diana

The Ancient Greeks called all moonstones ‘Aphroselene’, combining the names of the goddesses of love (Aphrodite) and the Moon (Selene). The Sioux goddess of the Moon, Hanwi is also associated with rainbow moonstone.

The Ancient Hindus called moonstones ‘Chandranka’ (beloved of the Moon in Sanskrit) and also believed moonstone was made from moon-beams and came to earth after a battle between Lord Vishnu and the demon-god Bali.

In several mythologies and belief systems, rainbow moonstone is repeatedly linked with goddesses, the moon and/or ‘Divine Femininity’. Rainbow moonstone is therefore said to be used by Shamans and ordinary people, for boosting one’s intuition and obtaining spiritual guidance.

Rainbow Moonstone Earrings

Resurgence With The Art Nouveau Era

Moonstone jewelry underwent a resurgence in popularity with the Art Nouveau era, with French designer René Lalique becoming the ‘inventor of modern jewelry’, by focusing not just on the price of the gemstone used, but the end result of the creation, using differing materials such as enamel, glass and semi-precious stones. 

He made some moonstone jewelry pieces for the stage-actress Sarah Bernhardt, an A list celebrity of her day.

A Favorite Of The Flower Child Movement

Moonstone, and by extension, rainbow moonstone jewelry was also popular amongst the 1960s Hippie ‘Flower Child’ movement, as its beaming and glistening evokes a celestial and mystical allure.
Rainbow Moonstone Earrings

Where Is Rainbow Moonstone Found?

Deposits of Rainbow Moonstone can be found in Canada (Labrador), India, China, USA, Australia, Finland, Madagascar and more locations globally.

If you want to experience rainbow moonstone's glow for yourself, get your own unique piece of rainbow moonstone jewelry here.