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[Digest Post] Labradorite vs. Spectrolite

    Is Labradorite just Spectrolite found in Labrador? 

Actually, spectrolite is labradorite found in Finland! Labradorite
is the “umbrella” name for a particular kind of feldspar named after
a primary location in Labrador. Spectrolite usually designates a
particularly high quality labradorite that is mined in Finland.
Rainbow moonstone (which is generally not moonstone, i.e., adularia
or albite, at all) is also labradorite. Beth

Hi Folks, Can anyone educate me on the relationship or differences
between Labradorite and Spectrolite? 

Hi Dave. My understanding from research done years ago is this:

Labradorite occurs in multiple locales and is characterized by a
blue and green iridescent play of color. This iridescence is
exhibited particularly well in material first discovered in Finland
in the 1940’s. Spectrolite is the name used to distinguish this
particularly brilliant Finnish material from other occurrences of

Which one is the stuff found in Scandinavia? The names aren't
interchangeable, are they? 

So the names are interchangeable in one direction - Spectrolite is
Labradorite but not all Labradorite is Spectrolite. :slight_smile:

Hope this helps. A piece using Spectrolite - the image was scanned
from slide and is a bit dark:

Pam Chott Song of the Phoenix

Dave - The term “spectrolite” made its appearance in the late 70s;
it was used in the marketing campaign for Finnish labradorite. To
the best of my awareness, it (spectrolite) is not a proper
mineralogical designation, but is strictly a marketing designation.
The issue is confounded by the use of “spectrolite” to describe the
labradorescent moonstone from Madagsacar. (another funny thing -
“rainbow moonstone” from India is really a labradorite!) Mineralogy
and marketing make very strange bedfellows.

Jim Small Small Wonders

Hi Dave and List. Myself being half Finlander in ancestry.
Spectrolite is a Labradorite variety that comes out of Finland only.
shows colors of the spectrum moreso than other Labradorite which is
usually a blue, green or brownish metallic sheen. although I’ve seen
a “peacock” Labradorite (at least it was identified as such) that
showed spectrum iridescence in a “peacock feather” patch within

There’s also a rock out of Norway that has large pieces of feldspar
within it that resembles Labradorite called Larvikite, it’s used for
building purposes not as a gem material…

Hope that helps… Gary W. Bourbonais

Dave- Spectrolite is a variety of Labradorite Feldspar, predominantly
found in Finland, that has a white to colorless body and a vivid
display of multiple colors. It is commonly referred to as Rainbow
Moonstone. Labradorite most commonly occurs with a dark body with a
single color flash, usually blue or yellow.

Hope that answers your question! James W.Turner, G.G.

Hope this helps. A piece using Spectrolite - the image was scanned
from slide and is a bit dark:  

So, Pam… We seem to have dealt with the spectrolite/labradorite
question, but you inadvertantly sparked another. Irridescent
hematite? That’s new to me. What can you (or anyone) tell me about
it? Thanks! – Noel

 I have also seen some dealers selling transparent feldspar as
"spectrolite" although I believe that this is a misnomer. 

On a practical note, precise orientation of the spectrolite is
crucial if you want a vivid display of labradorescence. The slab
should be cut so that, when you hold the slab directly in front of
you at eye level, with a light shining over your shoulder onto the
stone, the colors display. If you have to tilt the slab one way or
the other to get the color to flash, the slab was not correctly
oriented when it was cut, and you may have to do some fiddling
around in order to cut a properly oriented cabachon.

Lee EinerFrom: Jewelers Gallery

Dave, My experience is that labradorite has a gray base, spectrolite
from Finland has a darker base, and the colors of gold and peacock
blue, and greens are much more vivid. That’s what I have seen with my
eyeballs. I have never seen labradorite that looked like spectrolite,
and I have never seen spectrolite that looked like labradorite.
Richard in Denver

From: “Karen Seidel”

Hi Dave

Both Labradorite and Spectrolite are feldspars. Labradorite comes
from Labrador, Canada whereas Spectrolite is from Scandinavia. If I
remember my gemology classes correctly they are actually the same
kind of feldspar, they just have slightly different coloring.
Spectrolite tends to be lighter and brighter from what I have seen.

Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always sparkle.