Last year, I was offered the opportunity to go on Global News to talk about Wintergreen Fine Craft Market. It was a really cool experience but I tripped up while Candice (the interviewer) was looking at my Labradorite ring (pictured above on the left). She asked me if it comes from Labrador...well, I wasn't sure and told her it was found in Canada for sure. Ok, it was early - REALLY early and I am so not a morning person! Other than that, the interview was cool and I am glad Dale Lowe (supremely talented wood turner) was with me as he has done this sort of thing before!
This little incident got me thinking. I make jewellery and use many different materials. I try to use the best quality materials I can find, but what do I really know about them? I went to do a little research.
Labradorite is my favourite stone of all. Each piece has its own unique character. There are some that think it looks dull and boring. A bit like lake water. What I love is that while it does sometimes have that greyish green lake-water look, other times it has a flash of fire and brilliance when you turn it and look at it from different angles. I find it makes me think about life like that. Some days are mundane and boring but when you sit down and look at things from another perspective they can change and brighten up or inspire you. Labradorite inspires me. Some of my favourite jewellery pieces incorporated this beautiful stone!
Here is some of what I learned...
Labradorite is a feldspar mineral that is indeed found in Labrador, first discovered in Canada in 1770 at Paul's Island near the town of Nain to be exact. It is also found in Norway, Mexico, South America, Madagascar and Finland.
The iridescent effect (or schiller) is called labradoresence. The very technical explanation (found on Wikipedia) is:
" Labradorization is the peculiar reflection of the light from submicroscopical planes orientated in one direction (rarely in two directions); these planes have never such a position that they can be expressed by simple indices, and they are not directly visible under the microscope."
I guess that is why you can see such brilliance when you look at it one way but not the other.
It is a 6 - 6.5 hardness on the Mohs scale. So, not quite as soft as an opal but just as pretty!
I had always thought that Labradorite and Spectrolite two names for the same thing. Apparently there are some differences. Spectrolite is a variety of labradorite feldspar that exhibits a richer range of colours than labradorite. It was originally a brand name for a material mined in Finland. The Spectrolite has a darker base that apparently makes its play of colours richer.
I love that there is a legend about it from the Inuit people of Labrador!
It is said that while an Inuit warrior was wondering along the coast, he saw that some of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) had been trapped in the rocks along the shore, with the swing of his mighty spear, he freed these lights. The Inuit also believed that the spirits of their dead ancestors could be seen in the Aurora Borealis. Although Labradorite may have been 'discovered' by Europeans, the natives of Labrador (the Eskimo Inuit who lived on the coast and the Native American Innu who lived inland) had been using a powdered form of the rock to cure their ailments, calling it “fire rock” or “fire stone” because of its mystical appearance .
Did you know that this stone is used for more than just jewellery? Apparently it has been crushed up and used in road construction as well as the production of glass. It can also be used in the manufacture of ceramics; acting to increase strength and durability to ceramic.
Here is what is said about Labradorite at www.healingcrystals.com:
Highly mystical, Labradorite heightens intuition and enhances psychic abilities, making it great for working with the Third Eye Chakra. Intuition and intellect are balanced by Labradorite, illusions are dispelled and true intentions are seen more easily with its use. Labradorite is also very protective against negative energies, balancing, strengthening and protecting the aura and sealing the aura from energy leaks.
Labradorite is a stone of transformation and change. Labradorite enhances strength of will and feelings of inner worth. It is useful for bringing up and healing old memories, including past life issues. Labradorite can also help prepare the body and soul for ascension.
Labradorite can aid in communicating with our highest self and with the creator. It helps to assists when facing and navigating all types of changes and challenges, attracting strength and perseverance. Labradorite is one of the best stones to use when dealing with any type of addiction or to break unhealthy (physical, mental, etc.) habits.
So as you can see, this wonderful stone is as complex as it is beautiful with many uses! I learned a ton of cool information about Labradorite but there is so much more out there.
Still, if you ask me about it ridiculously early in the morning, you will likely still get the deer-in-the-headlights stare! 😜