Labradorite is a colorful stone that offers a range of colors and optical effects. It is named after its source the Peninsula of Labrador in Canada, where it was found. Labradorite displays a metallic rainbow effect similar to that of black opal except with larger color spots, often blue and green, although specimens with the complete spectrum are most appreciated. The effect is called labradorescence. It has a vitreous luster; sensitive to pressure.
Labradorite is a variety of feldspar. The name feldspar refers to crystalline alumino-silicate minerals, which are divided into two groups depending on their chemical composition. The potassium types consist of orthoclase, microcline, and others; and the plagioclase types include albite, labradorite, and oligoclase. Labradorite is found in igneous and metamorphic rocks, such as diorite, gabbro, andesite, and basalt; in crystalline masses that can be microscopic, or up to a yard or more across.
Labradorite found in Findland is called “spectrolite.” Spectrolite tends to have a dark, opaque body color with a schiller in pink, blue, orange or yellow. The most popular spectrolite has an electrical-blue schiller. Spectrolite can also have a cat’s eye effect. Labradorite was popular in jewelry in France and England in the 18th century.
Labradorite is found in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Norway, Russia, and in the United States.