Spectrolite sells as rainbow moonstone?

To add to the orginal question, I was recently told that a clear
spectrolite is being sold as rainbow moonstone, is this true?


Anastasia. Spectrolite and Moonstone are both Feldspars.


Yes; the material which is marketed as “rainbow moonstone” is
actually a labradorite feldspar. Additional confusion arises over the
marketing of “labradorite” from Madagascar, which is in actuality a
moonstone feldspar. "a rose… "

Jim Small

Well this is an interesting question and I am not even sure whether
the GIA finally resolved this issue. Rainbow Moonstone is a trade
name, not an official name and it is definitely not moonstone.
However I have been told that it is both spectrolite and bytownite.
All three of these (moonstone, spectrolite and bytownite) are all
varieties of feldspar.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

AnastasiA, You have just solved a puzzlement for me.

I have just recently been hearing about Rainbow Moonstone, and
yesterday in our ongoing (forever) Jewelry class, there was a
discussion over a couple of stones. One larger one had been identified
as Labradorite by a gemmologist. The person using Rainbow Moonstone at
that very moment declared the Labradorite as Rainbow Moonstone.

It seems we are once again in the commercial names of materials to
enhance their sales. Whatever they are called, both worked well in the
settings, and looked great.


Spectrolite sold as rainbow “moonstone”?

yes…yes …yes

caveat emptor

This is a common practice … in all areas of “sales”

to re-name a mineral in hopes that the “marketing” will creative a
market :>)

champagne diamonds for example

virtually all gems are treated… shaping & polishing them is a

semantics strikes again :>)

all the best,


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All moonstones are feldspars…
Not all feldspars are moonstone…

Greetings from Iowa,

When Rick cabs high grades of labradorite or spectrolite, he usually
uses Opticon, a fracture sealer. We always inform our customers that
it has been treated. However, I’ve heard varying reports on the
longevity of Opticon.

--How long does it truly last?
--If limited, is there a better product?
--How does everyone 'feel' about using Opticon? (or any other similar product 
that we're unaware of.

Also, the material we’ve always purchased, cabbed and sold as rainbow
moonstone for years (a white based feldspar with
blue/green/yellow/orange ‘labradorescence’, is not moonstone at all?
How do you approach this with your customers that have purchased the
stone elsewhere, been to gem shows, and always seen it sold as
rainbow moonstone? Inquiring minds wanna know! :slight_smile:

Rick and Kristi Stutt

Ok, I am very confused, I have found Rainbow Moonstone in many
books…are you telling me there is no such thing as Rainbow
Moonstone? Rainbow Moonstone is white, Labradorite is gray and darker.
Please clairfy, I am very confused.


“Moonstone” is more of an effect than a specific mineral. It has
become accepted practice to apply the term to several varieties of
feldspars that display one of several optical effects. Light enters a
feldspar gem and is either reflected or diffracted off certain layers
within the stone. The reflected light produced by orthoclase and
albite moonstones is generally white. Diffracted light from
orthoclase, albite, sanidine, microcline, periclase, peristerite, and
yes, labradorite can display spectral colors. Bluish for most of
these, and all colors for labradorite. It is considered a misnomer to
call non-feldspar stones, (Some agates and calcite), that show this
effect, moonstone. I suspect “rainbow moonstone” is labradorite by
default, since the other feldspars rarely display the variety and
frequency of spectral colors given by labradorite. See also,
adularescent, iridescent, labradorescent, aventurescent, peristerism.
As far as to spectrolite,(labradorite), the Eskimos of Labrador call
this gem, Fire Rock and it was first introduced to Europe by Moravian
missionaries in 1770. Will E.

Rick and Kristie,

I have to handle this problem every day. My business is rock cutting
and selling stones at shows, Internet, and by referral. There is
nothing wrong with treating a gemstone. What is wrong is not
disclosing that the stone is treated. Tell your customers the truth
as far as you know it. When you do not know the answer, tell them
you do not know.

Trade names are a constant problem. For instance: the orange
spessartine garnet from Africa is called “Mandarin Garnet”. This
garnet is fairly rare, especially in larger pieces. There is another
garnet from Mexico which is an orange grossular garnet. When this
garnet is cut it resembles a Mandarin garnet. The price difference
is many dollars per carat.

My experience is that trade names and failure to disclose are
attempts to mislead and fraudulently present goods to the buyer.
For instance I have lost many sales on Tanzanite when I tell buyers
that the stone is heat treated from very nasty looking rough, the
stone is soft, the stone is brittle, and it has a perfect cleavage.
I would make a lot more sales by not disclosing.

Opticon is a stable treatment as far as I can tell. I have stones
that I treated 20 years ago that show no changes. If the treatment
is correctly administered the stone should be stable.

To sum up my feelings. Gemstone treatment is desirable and needed.
Disclosure of treatments to the buyer is required.

Gerry Galarneau

Thank you Gerry. We have always disclosed the Opticon treatments. We
have never heard any testimony to it’s longevity, and we’d like to
hear if anyone has had bad experiences when following the directions

Kristi Stutt
Wire Wrapping Etcetera

Rainbow moonstone is a usually translucent to transparent cabochon
material with colors, including oranges, purples, yellows and
sometimes blues floating across the top. However rainbow moonstone is
a trade name and not an accurate gemological definition. One of my
wife’s favorite new pieces is one I gave her with a 14 ct. rainbow
moonstone in the center and another 12 rainbow moonstones with a total
weight in the 20 ct. range.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

There really isn’t anything to be confused over; this is just a
perfect example of the difference between mineralogy and marketing.
Mineralogically, the substance which is sold as "rainbow moonstone"
is a labradorite feldspar. If you have access to any good text on
mineralogy you can look up feldspar, and see that it isn’t one
mineral, but many. Each member of the feldspar family is
distinguished by certain characteristics, which determine its name.
By and large these characteristics are not color-limited. So, for
example, there are sunstone feldspars with body colors anywhere from
transparent to chocolate brown. Likewise the labradorite feldspars.

This is a situation of marketing terminology transcending mineralogy.

Hello Gerry,

I’ve read your article about gem treading and I liked it.Now I know
for sure that I’m not the only stupid(??!!) jeweller on this crazy
world.I don’t know ,but it seems like people want to be joked .I tell
all my customers about the gems I have and where they come from.Pass
the about the gem they would like to be set in there
jewelryThe majority of them are interested in “diamonds”.If I tell
them the true story about diamonds and if I tell them that other
gemsones are more rare then diamonds … they looke at me like a
monkey without brains.I’ve seen some of those customers leaving my
place because they thought I wasn’t serious.So realy,who is the
stupid one …the honnest craftsmen or the
most-of-the-time-not-knowing jeweller who just stands there and sells
the stuff.I believe in what I do and what I know and I’m not thinking
of changing my behaviour,but … customers want to be monkeyed
around if I could use this expression. Regards Pedro

Dear Palonso, I have read a number of postings from you that mention
your feelings about selling diamonds and I feel a need to respond. I
started out in the trade selling colored stones and for a long time I,
too, would explain to people how common diamonds are and other
gemstones are not. However the product we, as jewelers, sell is not
only about rarity. It takes into account many more factors, not the
least of which is what the customer wants. This does not mean that
you have to compromise your quality level for them, but you do have to
take into account their desires. It doesn’t really matter that the
desire may have been created through great ad campaigns, or fashion
mavens. What matters is that you are selling them a product that they
want, that they feel romantic about and that looks good. As a
designer/craftsperson/jeweler it should be your goal to take
something like a diamond and make a product that is so attractive that
the customer MUST buy it. You absolutely should disclose treatments
and you can make note of the cartel that mostly controls the diamond
market, but it doesn’t mean you should send your customers elsewhere
because they want a diamond and you don’t like the cartel. Why don’t
you sell only D color Flawless diamonds, which are TRULY rare, or
fancy colored diamonds, to set yourself apart from all the schlock
artists out there? It would make more sense than sending all those
customers away. Daniel R. Spirer, GG Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794
Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 @spirersomes

Interesting point of view Daniel.But I have to mention one very
important point.In your country (USA) it’s very easy having
additional classes or to follow jewelry classes.Most jewelry sellers
have a good or fair education about diamonds here in Europe,but their
purpose is to sell as much as they can.Those people know about the
common solded stones (diamonds,emeralds,sapphire,garnets and some
opals),and that’s it!And I believe that related to the fact that this
group of persons are not well educated (or having a lack of
interest)lots of gemstones aren’t appreciated because people never
heared about them.This is exactly the place where I like to fill-up
that gap of When people come by to buy a jewel (I don’t
have a display) and look of what I make,they like it all and have
problems of what to chose.Fact is, that they like to replace a stone
because they never heard of its existence (Yogo
saphhire,Almonnite,black opal,mandarine garnets,neon tourmaline,

Next to this,I would like to praise all the educational possibility’s
for a craftsmen in America.If I see howemany classes are been giving
and the wide variety in Your country,I start dreaming.As far as I
know of,it is real hard for a layman or for a hobby person to have
jewelryclasses over here.If your not shooled or trained,you better
forget of trying to work with a goldsmith.It doesn’t matter if you
performed some selfstudy or having interest in this branch.This leads
again to a very small group of people with knowledge of other

Daniel,I really liked your comment and I’m pleased to talk about this
subject with somebody with a broad view as you have,but I better stop
now before this subject starts to be boring (but not for me).It feels
good that someone allready been there where I am now.See you and take

Regards Pedro