5 The Northern Light In A Gemstone

May 16, 2011By



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Adularescence in a beautiful Moonstone

An Aurora Borealis or the Northern Light is a natural light display in the sky, particularly in the polar regions and usually occuring at night, caused by the collision of charged particles directed by the Earth’s magnetic field.

The Northern Light in the North Pole

The optical phenomena of gemstones with this ‘Northern Light’ has a shimmering blue aurora called  Adularescence and is most prominent in Moonstones. The effect is best described as a billowy, milky and bluish luster or glow originating from below the surface of the gemstone.  The scattering of light in Moonstone is actually caused by the intergrowth of 2 kinds of crystallized alternating layers, hence, when light is directed at a moonstone, light is scattered off in all directions instead of bouncing off the normal and reflected or refracted in one direction.

The degree of the billowy light of the adularescence is determined by the thickness of the intergrown layers.  Here, thin layers may produce the most desirable bluish adularescence while thicker layers will give the gemstone a whitish adularescence.

Cat's Eye in a Moonstone with Distinct Adularescence

Some Moonstones also exhibit the chatoyancy phenomena of cat’s eye and they are much sought after by connoisseurs when the tantalizing bluish light shimmers on the surface with a clear distinct cat’s eye.

A 6-Ray Star Rose Quartz with some Adularescence

Adularescence also appears in numerous other gemstones, notably common opal, rose quartz and colorless quartz.  However, due to inclusions in these other stones, the effect is displayed differently.


http://farm4.static.flickr.com, http://i.telegraph.co.uk, http://www.crystals11.com, http://www.mardonjewelers.com, http://www.gemstoneslist.com, http://www.djraregems.com, http://en.wikipedia.org

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About the Author ()

I am a Graduate Gemologist trained at GIA in New York. I hold an MBA from Cranfield University, United Kingdom and a Bachelor degree in Mathematics. My earlier profession was a banker until I found jade in Myanmar in the early 90s. I have traveled to the fabled Hpakan Jade mines and Mogok in upper Burma with my second son. Three of my children were also Graduate Gemologist, GIA and they are deal in diamonds.

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