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Where is Labradorite Found?

Updated on June 19, 2013
polished Labradorite
polished Labradorite | Source

Until you have a held a piece of Labradorite in your hand, you cannot fully appreciate its beauty.

With luminescent rainbow colors shining through from the interior of the rock, Labradorite is reminiscent of opal.

The iridescence of opal is called opalescence, and similarly the iridescence of Labradorite is known as labradorescence.

This is probably the best example you will see of something known as the Schiller Effect.

It is a peculiar optical illusion caused by light refracting off crystals deep with the stone, giving the impression of a colorful glow coming from the stone.

Those colors can be blues, oranges, yellows, greens, pinks or shades between, depending on the angle the stone is held at.

The alternative name for Labradorite is Spectrolite, presumably because it displays the colors of the spectrum.

A semi-precious stone, Labradorite is named after the place it was originally found, Labrador in Newfoundland, Canada.

polished Labradorite
polished Labradorite | Source

Labradorite Properties

Group - Silicates - tectosilicates

Crystal System - Triclinic

Chemical composition - NaAlSi3O8 - CaAl2Si2O8

Color - Blue, gray, white

Form/Habit - usually massive

Hardness - 6 - 6.5

Cleavage - Perfect

Fracture - Uneven to conchoidal

Luster - Vitreous

Streak - White

Specific gravity - 2.7

Transparency - Transparent to translucent

Labradorite has since been found in other parts of the world, notably in:

  • Madagascar
  • Russia
  • Finland (Lapland)
  • Mexico
  • India (South)
  • Greenland
  • New South Wales (Australia)

and in the US:

  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Texas

Labradorite, a member of the plagioclase feldspar group of minerals, seldom forms crystals. It is those that have crystallized that display the schiller effect.

These are used in jewelry and when cut en cabachon make wonderful pendants, earrings and rings.

They are also much desired for ornaments and for building facings.

Labradorite is usually dark gray or blue, but can also be red, orange, yellow, green or even colorless or white.

The orange/red sunstones found in Oregan are Labradorite, but without the iridescence.

The best gemstone quality Labradorite is found in Labrador, India, Finland, Madagascar and Russia.

What Type of Rocks can Labradorite be found in?

Labradorite can be found in both igneous and metamorphic rocks that have a medium to poor amount of silica.

These include:

  • basalt
  • gabbro
  • diorite
  • andesite
  • amphibolite

In Nairn, Labrador, the Labradorite is found in a rock called anorthosite. The crystals formed as the magma cooled after volcanic activity.

This type of feldspar, which is one of the most common minerals on Earth, is up to 2 billion years old.

Labradorite from Madagascar
Labradorite from Madagascar | Source


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