Sunday, February 20, 2011

Labradorite

Aurora Borealis seen from the North Pole

Inuit legend tells us that long ago the Northern Lights were trapped inside the rocks off the coast of Labrador.  One day they were found by an Inuit warrior who used his spear to free them.  Sadly, not all the Northern Lights could be freed.  It is because some of them remained imprisoned in the rock that we have labradorite today.


Slab of labradorite - photo by Kluka


The rainbow coloured reflections seen in labradorite, known as labradorescence or schiller, do indeed resemble the beauty of the Northern Lights. It is therefore not surprising that shortly after its discovery in 1770 by Moravian missionaries on Paul Island in Labrador, Canada, labradorite became a popular stone for use in jewelry in France and England.

Labradorite cabochons

The stone remains popular today. Labradorite shows at its best when it is able to move to catch the light, which transforms the dark grey stone into a fiery, iridescent thing of beauty. For this reason, pieces that move, such as drop earrings and rings are often preferred to more static pieces, like necklaces or pins.

Labradorite has many internal layers and cracks, so care must be taken with the stone. It can break in two if it receives a blow or if too much pressure is applied to it. It can also easily chip or become scuffed, so it should be stored properly when not in use. Ultrasonic and steam cleaning are not recommended for this gemstone.

Here are some examples of labradorite used in jewelry, brought to you by members of the Starving Artists Team.

Oxidized Sterling Silver Labradorite Necklace by Shiny Adornments

Sterling Silver and Labradorite Necklace by LA Valley Girly

Argentium Silver Labradorite Earrings by popnicute

Labradorite and Fine Silver Wire Crochet Pendant by Cat's Wire

Labradorite Bracelet by Ava Designs


Featuring artisan handmade creations by the Starving Artists jewelry Team, the SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current shop owner members can be found at SATEAM.etsy.com and here on ArtFire.

13 comments:

Islandgirl said...

One of my favorite stones... I've never heard the legend of the 'fire' before! Short stories like that really help sell work!

Cat said...

Thank you so much for including my pendant.
Labradorite is one of my very favorite stones!
The story you told (and that I didn't know before) adds to its magic.

Ava said...

What a great story. I love this stone and have used it as the main focal for many of my pieces. Great story, I too have not heard it before.

mcstoneworks said...

Stunning examples of a gorgeous stone.

Jeanne said...

Oh boy, I did not know that background story! It's fits perfectly now that I've read it. I love labradorite, but sometimes I think it's a bit "cold and dark", not just in color but also in feeling. This story fits perfectly, and I think the nature of labradorite exactly matches.

Beautiful works showcased here! Great job everyone. :)

galadryl said...

Great story and a gorgeous stone with simply beautiful examples.

tjrjewellery said...

A beautiful stone - some very nice examples you have chosen for this blog article.

Cassie said...

I'd never heard of the story behind the fire of labradorite, either... really cool to finally hear about it! I love labradorite... it's such a beautiful and versatile stone, as shown by our talented team members!

DawninCal said...

I love the folklore of labrodorite, but I love the jewelry featured even more!

Katrina said...

One of my new favorite stones!!!! Everyone's work is absolutely beautiful!! Good job guys!

Tasha said...

A beautiful stone - and I never knew the story behind it. Learn something new every day.
Beautiful pieces of work featuring labradorite too. It's wonderful to see how one stone can be represented in so many different ways and styles.
Cheers,
Tasha

StudioDTQ said...

I did not know the legend, so I will file that away for future reference.

Beautiful story that pulls at the heart strings and a just as beautiful stone to continue the story with! :o)

Pat de Verre said...

Lovely stone for a lovely post.
Thanks for sharing the legend