A little bit about labradorescence

First off, thanks so much for all of your well wishes! It means so much to me to have you all following my progress as I shop around. How many other brides-to-be can say they have as many fabulous peeps as I do? Not many, I’d wager ;-)

Now let’s get down to business. At lease one of yesterday’s commenters expressed interest in my labradorite ring…which, of course, did not come with today’s mail like I was hoping it would. Labradorite is really such an interesting stone. At first glance, it will look gray, mossy, or deep green, but if you wiggle it around in the light you’ll start to see all sorts of wonderful fiery blue, pink, yellow, and orange lamellar intergrowths. In this sense, it can be almost opalescent, though the correct term is actually “labradorescence.” The sparkle is subtle, however, and so labradorite’s charms are easily overlooked.

You can see the diffuse blue lamellar intergrowths in this sphere:

See the sparkle?

What are lamellar intergrowths, you ask? I was just getting to that. Mineral Galleries says:

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 truely a one of a kind mineralogical experience and must be observed in person in order to truely appreciate its beauty.

Anyhow, the labradorite in my ring looks more like this:

See the rainbow?

Fun fact: A more intensely color stone of the same feldspar family is known as Spectrolite.

2 Responses to “A little bit about labradorescence”

  1. Twistie February 15, 2007 at 5:02 pm #

    I’ve seen Labradorite before, and I think it’s wonderful stuff! You’re going to have a lovely ring, NtB.

  2. KTtheKCbride February 15, 2007 at 5:44 pm #

    I didn’t have a chance to post yesterday (was on my way out the door) but now I’d like to say CONGRATS! to you and your FI :-)