Labradorite - one of the February stones mascots

Our regular column ‘Stone of the Month' is about the February labradorite, a mineral that is widely used as an ornamental and facing stone.
Among the many feldspar varieties, labradorite stands alone. It is a mineral with an effect called iris (from the Greek 'iris' meaning rainbow).

Labradorite is an opaque stone, with bright flashes of iridescent cornflower blue inside at certain angles, sometimes playing all the colours of the rainbow. The stone takes its name from the Labrador Peninsula in Canada, where it was first discovered in 1770. After the find was revealed to the world, a wave of fascination for the stone swept across Europe, -- as it perfectly fitted with the Rococo style. The play of light in the stone was fascinating, it was compared to the shimmering wings of tropical butterflies and peacock feathers. The high society trendy persons wore labradorite jewellery and decorated interiors and furniture with labradorite mosaics. However, long before its official discovery by English missionaries, labradorite was known and widely implemented by Indians. The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) also knew the stone. In our country, the stone was known at the time of Kievan Rus ("wonder stone"). This gem was used in the decoration of the altar of Tithe Church*, the tomb of prince Mstislav Vladimirovich was made of it. The mineral excesses were sold to other countries. For example, to the East, where it was known under the name of tausin (from the word "peacock").

In 1781, labradorite was found in the vicinity of St Petersburg. Then another major labradorite deposit was discovered. This happened in the Ukraine in 1835. The labradorite was so abundant that another use was found for it: it was used as a facing material for columns, monuments, fireplaces. Rather soon it turned from a very expensive jewelry stone, which it was considered to be, into a common ritual-architectural stone, a stone of mourning and pomp. The mineral is as a high quality facing stone mainly in monumental architecture, though some specimens with bright blue and green irises are used as decorative ornamental stones. Many stations of the Moscow metro (e.g. Kakhovskaya station) and some buildings in the city (part of the plinth of the “Four Seasons Hotel Moscow", the Mausoleum decoration and the Alley of Cities-Heroes in the Alexander Garden, etc.), two entrances in the residential complex "The Second House of Soviets" in Ekaterinburg (1930-1932), as well as, for example, columns of the metro station "Prospect of Veterans" in St. Petersburg are faced with labradorite.

Types of labradorite:
- black moonstone (has a characteristic blue or bluish lustre in bright light, is widely used in jewellery, and jewellery mostly is made from this type of stone);
- sunny stone (mined in the USA, it is characterized by its bright yellowish-golden or even white colour);
- spectrolith (a type of stone that shimmers in all colours of the rainbow when lit, it was discovered in 1940 and spectrolith jewellery production began after the Second World War).

Crystal healers believe that labradorite has a beneficial effect on a person's health, psychological and emotional state, tonicizes and invigorates intellectual endowments. The mineral helps with eye and brain ailments, relieves stress, regulates metabolism, in very good with colds and rheumatism, normalizes hormone levels and reduces high blood pressure, has antiseptic properties

Combining reason with intuitive wisdom, this stone frees people from illusions, forcing them to get at the root of various issues and revealing the real intentions behind the thoughts and actions.

Labradorite is a beneficent companion for conversions. It gives strength and perseverance, drives away fears, insecurities and helps to eliminate negative memories.

New themed photo album "Labradorite - one of the February stones mascotts" is posted in the museum Photo Gallery.

Labradorite stone: types and meaning of labradorite
"Gems - the stone rainbow of the Earth". Publishing and printing centre of VSU, 2012.