June 22, 2020
🕐 6 Min Read
Named for the rugged eastern coast of Canada and tied in local legend to the Northern Lights, labradorite is full of beauty, mystery, and magic. Like its cousin moonstone, this flashy feldspar gem is more than meets the eye.
Types of Labradorite & Other Feldspar Gems
Labradorite takes its name from the fjord laden region of Canada where it can be found. The first accounts of the shimmery stone among settlers came from a group of 18th century missionaries. However, Indigenous peoples in modern-day Newfoundland and Labrador may have traded the gem to tribes in New England and seafaring adventurers of the North Atlantic far earlier.
Another labradorite variety named spectrolite made an appearance in Finland during WWII. Often darker than other types of labradorite, this vivid stone gets its name for the full spectrum of color it displays in certain light. Similar to the way light refracts off of opal or moonstone, labradorite’s signature sheen is created by layers buried inside the stone.
Feldspar is one of the most abundant minerals on the planet. In fact, it makes up more than half of the earth’s crust. In combination with other elements and minerals, feldspar creates beautiful building materials like granite, and sparkling gems like moonstone, sunstone, and peristerite.
While words like iridescent are just fine to describe the enigmatic optical effect of labradorite and its feldspar based friends, this family of gemstones has its own signature terms. Labradorescence is used to denote the peacock-like coloring of labradorite under the light, while fans of ethereal moonstone and adularia gems use the term adularescence. Glittery metallic inclusions in a gem can be often described as Schiller or aventurescence. And stones with refractive, cat-eye like rays or bands are considered chatoyant or phenomenal gems.
Labradorite Uses: Jewelry, Carving & Spiritual Practice
Because of its rarity and delicate form, labradorite has been used almost exclusively for jewelry and carved figurines. It ranges in colors from nearly clear to nearly black, but the most popular type of labradorite for jewelry is often a rich, gemmy green or a sapphire deep blue. Labradorite stones with a darker body color are sometimes called black moonstone or falcon’s eye.
Labradorite uses in meditation and energy work often play off of the stone’s reflective qualities. “Labradorite helps you reflect on your inner light,” writes Margaret Ann Lembo in The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals and Stones. “It also helps you recognize the varying effects that light, color, and sound have on your consciousness and spiritual practices.”
“Gaze into this stone, allowing light to refract off it, while you imagine or visualize the answers to whatever you search for arising in your awareness,” suggests Lembo. “Labradorite guides you toward understanding the ‘mirrors’ in your relationships, helping you to better see your relationship with yourself.” She continues to find parallels between the layers of stone and layers of emotion, suggesting that labradorite can aid in times of reinvention.
Another metaphysical author, Florence Mégemont, writes of the hidden labradorite meaning and its uses for certain zodiac signs. “This grayish stone only reveals its sparkling colors when it’s examined closely. In the same way, people can often overlook quiet, unassuming Pisces,” she writes. “Once we look beyond the surface, we see the sparkling qualities of those born under this sign. The radiance of this stone will make their virtues more readily apparent.”
Mégemont also notes that those born under the sign of Cancer might be attracted to labradorite, and should seek out the gemstone in several colors. Author Cassandra Eason suggests using labradorite as a protective talisman if you must travel late at night or through unsafe areas. “Breathe in the misty energy and exhale your fear as dull-red light to act as a shield and lower your profile so you will be less visible to hostility,” she writes in her healing crystal directory.
Labradorite Meaning: Aurora Borealis, Atlantis & The Shaman’s Stone
Stories about labradorite meaning, like many gemstone legends, start in regions where they were traded and found. With labradorite varieties in Canada, Greenland, and Nordic Europe, it should come as no surprise that labradorite stones are linked to aurora borealis, or the northern lights.
To Canada’s First Nations, several versions of labradorite’s origin myth persist, most linking the stone’s colors to the dancing polar lights. In one account of the story, the northern lights were missing from the sky and locked in the iridescent stone. Only when a warrior crushed the labradorite, were the lights set free and returned to their rightful home. Other legends tell of stars that lie beyond the colorful arctic phenomenon once living on earth inside of labradorite stones.
New Age legends link lovers of labradorite to the lost city of Atlantis. Those who are drawn to the iridescent gemstone have ancestral links to the fantastical city, some say. During the Victorian era, labradorite played a lucky role in acrostic jewelry, a unique tradition where gemstones were arranged to communicate secret messages based on the first letter of their name. Labradorite often found its way into gemstone jewelry spelling out LUCK and LUCKY.