Jerry Harvey

Image taken from a gem course
webpage by Barbara Smigel at

Table of Contents

Introduction History Physical Properties Optical Properties Uses
Value Metaphysical Properties References Image References Related Links


Labradorite is a beautiful gem that fascinates its owners, yet labradorite is often overlooked by others. Once it is picked up, the flashes of color immediately show why it is so captivating. This webpage pays tribute to labradorite and was constructed for a final gemstone class project.


During the 18th century, labradorite was used in jewelry in France and England. It was first discovered in 1770 on St. Paul Island, Labrador, Canada. It was discovered in the form of large boulders by Moravian missionaries. They introduced it to Europe in London. It is also found in Madagascar, Ukraine, Australia, Mexico, Russia, United States, China, and Finland (Mysticgames, 2007).

Physical Properties

Chemical Composition Sodium Calcium Aluminum Silicate - NaAlSi3O8 to CaAl2Si2O8
ColorGrey to black, colorless to white, yellow, orange to red, blue to green
Crystal SystemTriclinic
Mohs' Hardness6-6.5
TransparencyOpaque to translucent
FractureUneven, splintery
Refractive Index1.56-1.57
FluorescenceYellow striations
(Information taken from Schumann, 2006, p.182).

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Optical Properties

Labradorite has its own unique optical phenomenon called labradorescence. This is the only gem that shows this directionally-oriented display of colors (Smigel, 2005). These colors can range form violet, blue, green, yellow, and red. The highest valued gems display the complete color spectrum come from Finland and are known as Spectrolite. The color displays are due to light interference by thin lamellae intergrowths inside the crystal. This display of color is affected by the thickness and orientation of the layers (Amethyst Galleries, 2007).

Labradorite Image taken from a gem
course webpage by Barbara Smigel at

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Due to the physical properties of labradorite, it is usually cut into cabochons and carvings or made into beads. It is also faceted or used for table tops or counter tops (Gem & Mineral Miners, 2006).

Labradorite Countertop
Image taken from


Gem quality labradorite is cheap compared to ammonites, opals, and fire agates. The most expensive are the pieces that show the most uniform and brightest color flashes. The value also depends on the size and the artistry of the cut or carving (Smigel, 2005).

Metaphysical Properties

Labradorite is said to replace anxiety, hopelessness, and depression with enthusiasm, self confidence, and inspiration. It also helps enhance clarity of thought and the ability to work with others in harmony. It has been helpful in treating eye and brain disorders; regulate metabolism and the digestive process (Gem & Mineral Miners, 2006).

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Image References

Related Links

Emporia State University
Earth Science at ESU
Gemology Webpage Assignment
Past Student Projects

Return to the GO 340 Gemstone and Gemology course assignment or student webpages.

This webpage project was created for a gemstone and gemology course at Emporia State University. The assignment was to learn webpage creation and present a summary of my knowledge of labradorite. For more information, email Created May 02, 2008; last update May 06, 2008.