THE MINERAL LABRADORITE

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Labradorite is truly a fascinatingly beautiful mineral. Its a mineral whose charm is not fully noticed and may be overlooked if not viewed from the proper position. Generally a dull, dark looking mineral with no special virtue until the colorful shiller is observed glowing on the surface. Labradorite can produce a colorful play of light across cleavage planes and in sliced sections called labradorescence. The usually intense colors range from the typical blues and violets through greens, yellows and oranges. Some rare specimens display all these colors simultaneously.

The color display is from lamellar intergrowths inside the crystal. These intergrowths result from compatible chemistries at high temperatures becoming incompatible at lower temperatures and thus a separating and layering of these two phases. The resulting color effect is caused by a ray of light entering a layer and being refracted back and forth by deeper layers. This refracted ray is slowed by the extra travel through the layers and mixes with other rays to produce a light ray coming out that has a different wavelength than when it went in. The wavelength could correspond to the wavelength of a particular color, such as blue. The effect depends on the thickness and orientation of the layers. If the layers are too thick or too thin no color shiller is seen. Also if the viewer does not observe from the precise angle or if light is not supplied from the proper angle then no color shiller is seen. The labradorescence is truly a one of a kind mineralogical experience and must be observed in person in order to truly appreciate its beauty.

Labradorite is a member of the plagioclase series of minerals. The plagioclase series comprises felspars that range in chemical composition from pure NaAlSi3 O8 to pure CaAl2 Si2 O8 . Labradorite is defined at approximately the 50% to 70% CaAl2 Si2 O8 . Labradorite by definition must contain 50-70% calcium to 50-30% sodium in the sodium/calcium position of the crystal structure. All members of the plagioclase series usually display lamellar twinning called "Albite Twinning". The twinning is caused by a error in the crystal structure during its growth.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Color is gray to smoky black.
  • Luster is dull to vitreous.
  • Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
  • Crystal System is triclinic; bar 1
  • Crystal Habits include blocky crystals that rarely form free of the host rock and therefore do not usually show their full crystal forms. In sliced sections of rock, the labradorite appears as blocky chunks with a predominance of near right angled corners. Twinning is common and pervasive so that in labradorite it produces a layered or stacked effect. The twin layers are typically only fractions of millimeters to several millimeters thick. Crystals of labradorite are found imbedded in gabbros and other mafic igneous rocks of low silica content. In anorthosites, labradorite is a main constituent.
  • Cleavage is perfect in one and good in another direction forming nearly right angled prisms.
  • Fracture is conchoidal.
  • Hardness is 6 - 6.5.
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 2.70 - 2.74 (average)
  • Streak is white.
  • Associated Minerals are biotite, pyroxene and hornblende.
  • Other Characteristics: index of refraction is 1.55 - 1.75. Play of colors called labradorescence seen from certain directions can cause flashes of blue, violet and green and sometimes orange and yellow.
  • Notable Occurrences include Labrador, Canada and Scandinavian Peninsula.
  • Best Field Indicators are occurrence, twinning striations and labradorescence.
Labradorite Jewelry - Hover over an item for more information
Labradorite Textured Hoop Earrings in Sterling Silver
Lightly textured hoop earrings are dressed up with the showy color play of faceted labradorites. Snap-bar, sterling silver earrings.Only $79.95 at Ross-Simons
no photoLabradorite Textured Hoop Earrings in Sterling Silver
$79.95
Ross-Simons
Alexis Bittar 'Lucite - Imperial' Drop Earrings
Delicate strands of lace-like metalwork suspend a pair of breathtaking Lucite earrings handcrafted for a soft, colorful glow. Color(s): labradorite, teal blue. Brand: ALEXIS BITTAR. Style Name: Alexis Bittar 'Lucite - Imperial' Drop Earrings. Style...Only $150.00 at Nordstrom
no photoAlexis Bittar 'Lucite - Imperial' Drop Earrings
$150.00
Nordstrom
Gray Cultured Pearl, Labradorite Bead Necklace, 14kt Yellow Gold
This gray cultured pearl and labradorite bead necklace is a celebration of amazing grays. Featuring 8-9mm cultured freshwater pearls with faceted labradorite beads. Necklace fastens with 14kt white gold fishhook clasp. Pearl birthstones are the perfect...Only $195.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoGray Cultured Pearl, Labradorite Bead Necklace, 14kt Yellow Gold
$195.00
Ross-Simons
Kiwi Cluster Ring - Alexis Bittar - Gold (8)
Alexis BittarKiwi Cluster RingDetailsGolden metal with porous finish.Labradorite, chrysocolla, Swarovski crystals, and manmade dyed shell pearls cluster on front.Silvertone bezel details.Doubled, tapered band.1 1/2inL.Designer About Alexis...Only $209.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoKiwi Cluster Ring - Alexis Bittar - Gold (8)
$209.00
Neiman Marcus
Labradorite Drop Earrings - Ippolita - Gold
IppolitaLabradorite Drop EarringsHighlightsMisty, mysterious labradorite frames your face with luminosity, offering a natural glow. We love these Ippolita earrings for myriad casual and formal occasions-just be sure to wear hair upswept so admirers can...Only $595.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoLabradorite Drop Earrings - Ippolita - Gold
$595.00
Neiman Marcus
8mm Faceted Labradorite Beaded Bracelet with 14k Gold/Diamond Small Elephant Charm (Made to Order) - Sydney Evan
Sydney Evan8mm Faceted Labradorite Beaded Bracelet with 14k Gold/Diamond Small Elephant Charm (Made to Order)DetailsFaceted labradorite rondelle beads, 8mm.Approx. 2in interior diameter.Stretch cord; slip-on style.14-karat yellow gold elephant charm...Only $775.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photo8mm Faceted Labradorite Beaded Bracelet with 14k Gold/Diamond Small Elephant Charm (Made to Order) - Sydney Evan
$775.00
Neiman Marcus
Triple Possessed Magic Hoops - Lana
LanaTriple Possessed Magic HoopsDetailsMisty, mysterious labradorite and 14k gold give these Lana earrings a stunning balance of wild and refined.14-karat yellow gold.Flat link chain wraps around three faceted labradorite stations.Pierced...Only $830.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoTriple Possessed Magic Hoops - Lana
$830.00
Neiman Marcus
Jardin Mystere Crackle & Crystal Ring - Alexis Bittar - Clear (6)
Alexis BittarJardin Mystere Crackle & Crystal RingDetailsAlexis Bittar silvertone metal ring from the Jardin Mystere Collection.White quartz, aqua crackle glass, labradorite, and Swarovski crystals.1 1/3inL face; sits 3/4in off the finger.Wide cutout...Only $302.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoJardin Mystere Crackle & Crystal Ring - Alexis Bittar - Clear (6)
$302.00
Neiman Marcus
Light Horn, Labradorite & Bronze Disc Bangle - Ashley Pittman - Bronze
Ashley PittmanLight Horn, Labradorite & Bronze Disc BangleDetailsAshley Pittman bracelet in light horn.Hand-inlaid bronze discs.Faceted labradorite.2.5in diameter.1inW.Slip-on style.Handcrafted in Kenya.Designer About Ashley Pittman: The Ashley Pittman...Only $595.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoLight Horn, Labradorite & Bronze Disc Bangle - Ashley Pittman - Bronze
$595.00
Neiman Marcus
Jardin Mystere Beetle Cocktail Ring - Alexis Bittar - Clear (8)
Alexis BittarJardin Mystere Beetle Cocktail RingDetailsBeetle ring from the Alexis Bittar Jardin Mystere Collection.Golden and silvertone metal.Labradorite, aqua crackle glass, and Swarovski crystals.1 1/2inL.Made in USA.Designer About Alexis...Only $325.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoJardin Mystere Beetle Cocktail Ring - Alexis Bittar - Clear (8)
$325.00
Neiman Marcus
Labradorite Bezel Station Necklace in 18kt Gold Over Sterling
On this necklace, playfully arranged labradorite stations in various sizes cast mysteriously shiftly shades in brushed bezels. On a rolo chain with a lobster clasp. 18kt yellow gold over sterling silver necklace.Only $138.75 at Ross-Simons
no photoLabradorite Bezel Station Necklace in 18kt Gold Over Sterling
$138.75
Ross-Simons
8mm Faceted Labradorite Beaded Bracelet with 14k White Gold/Diamond Love Charm (Made to Order) - Sydney Evan
Sydney Evan8mm Faceted Labradorite Beaded Bracelet with 14k White Gold/Diamond Love Charm (Made to Order)DetailsFaceted labradorite rondelle beads, 8mm.Approx. 2in interior diameter.Stretch cord; slip-on style.14-karat white gold love script charm.Pave...Only $775.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photo8mm Faceted Labradorite Beaded Bracelet with 14k White Gold/Diamond Love Charm (Made to Order) - Sydney Evan
$775.00
Neiman Marcus
Jardin Mystere Beetle Cocktail Ring - Alexis Bittar - Clear (6)
Alexis BittarJardin Mystere Beetle Cocktail RingDetailsBeetle ring from the Alexis Bittar Jardin Mystere Collection.Golden and silvertone metal.Labradorite, aqua crackle glass, and Swarovski crystals.1 1/2inL.Made in USA.Designer About Alexis...Only $325.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoJardin Mystere Beetle Cocktail Ring - Alexis Bittar - Clear (6)
$325.00
Neiman Marcus
Labradorite Pendant Necklace, 17"L - Lana
LanaLabradorite Pendant Necklace, 17inLDetails14-karat yellow gold.Flat link necklace.Links wrap around faceted labradorite pendant.Necklace, 17inL.Pendant, 3/4inL.Lobster clasp.Designer About Lana:Launched in 2002, designer Lana Bramlette's cool,...Only $610.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoLabradorite Pendant Necklace, 17"L - Lana
$610.00
Neiman Marcus
Blue Labradorite Flower Pin Pendant in Silver, 14kt Yellow Gold
A statement any way you wear it. Pin pendant is etched sterling silver with a labradorite cabochon bezel set in 14kt yellow gold. Pin it on a jacket or your little black dress, or flaunt this floral showpiece on a favorite chain. Single bales fits up...Only $150.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoBlue Labradorite Flower Pin Pendant in Silver, 14kt Yellow Gold
$150.00
Ross-Simons

 

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