Mineral Review

What color is Labradorite stone?

From a geological and chemical point of view, labradorite is a type of granite with a coarse-grained structure and the inclusion of a large number of labradorite crystals of different colors. Depending on the origin and number of inclusions, the stone may have different color options. The origin of a particular material can be determined by its characteristic color pattern, typical for each deposit. The effect of color diversity is given by crystals and plates of plaxioglas or labradorite, the main component of the material.

The origin of the stone is volcanic; it belongs to the class of igneous rocks that are formed during periods of volcanic activity due to the release of hot matter. Subsequently, the mass hardens, acquires strength and retains its structure under sediment for a long time. Before processing, the stone does not make such a vivid impression, because. looks almost uniform.

In the legends of some peoples (mainly American Indians) it is believed that Labrador contains the northern lights. Overall, it looks quite similar.

A full-fledged aesthetic effect occurs after the surface is polished, the crystals of the weeping eye are “cut off”, and the inclusions begin to reflect light. With the correct selection and processing of the material, the iridescent effect is so strong that the stone seems to glow from the inside, iridescent. In the form of polished tiles, it gives the impression of a complex surface with a characteristic play of colors.

Properties of labradorite

In terms of properties, labradorite is very close to granite with its characteristic granularity and high strength. Solid wood can be used as a finishing material with limited structural strength; however, if improperly processed, a monolith can crack and lose stability in the cold.

From the point of view of construction, finishing tasks, and the manufacture of interior elements, a number of characteristics of labradorite are valued:

  • hardness on the Mohs scale – from 6 to 6,5
  • compressive strength – about 230 MPa;
  • bending strength – about 21 MPa);
  • wear resistance (abrasion) – 0.50 g/cm2;
  • resistance to atmospheric conditions (water absorption) – 0.21%.

Characteristics may vary slightly depending on the deposit and the choice of processing technology. Not only the color scheme is of great importance, but also the condition of the rock mass at the location. The most prized material comes from a partially enclosed outcrop where it has not been eroded.

Composition of labradorite

In terms of chemical and mineral composition, labradorite can have significant differences, since the rock is formed during the process of volcanic activity and is a set of frozen inclusions. To give an idea of ​​its structure and main components, we can give approximate values:

  • Labradorite (plaxio-eye) – from 50 to 70%;
  • quartz, pyroxene, feldspar and other minor inclusions

The chemical composition looks like this: (Na,Ca)(Al,Si)4O8 with Na (30-50%) and Ca (70-50%). When compared with granite and other igneous rocks, a related affinity, a relative coincidence of the set of components, is noted.

In its pure form, labradorite (plaxo-eye) with its lamellar structure is quite rare; it is usually surrounded by a tightly welded array of crystalline inclusions. The color range is varied:

  • sunny labradorite (only in America) – golden hue of inclusions, characteristic rich yellow tint;
  • black lunar labradorite – a deeply dark combination of blue mass with bluish inclusions;
  • red-brown labradorite – “Bull’s eye” with a characteristic light stripe of asterism, which changes direction when the piece of stone is turned;
  • green – “Cat’s eye”, is quartz with a vertical stripe of light reflection
  • blue-green labradorite (tavusit) from India is called “Peacock Feather”;
  • reddish-copper – aventurine with a shimmering shine due to a mixture of copper and magnetite;
  • spectrolite is a rare and valuable variety with a mass of iridescent components and a “sparkling” play of light.

Labradorite mining

In deposits, labradorite is usually found as an inclusion in basalt massifs, where it occupies voids and gas cavities formed during the eruption. Depending on the location and specific conditions of formation, this may be a large single crystal of weeping eye or a cluster of crystals. To extract the found crystal, impact methods can be used to destroy the basalt capsule. The crystal size usually does not exceed half a meter in length. In the vast majority of cases, labradorite is available as a mass of inclusions in granite or basalt.

When deposits are discovered, they are classified according to their vertical section:

  • laccolith – a depression or hole;
  • lopolit – plate-shaped inclusion;
  • dyke or stock – wall or column.

The coarse-crystalline mass may break apart during extraction. A small or medium-sized single crystal can be removed from the cavity, but is destroyed if at the first stage the array was undermined and split into pieces. Processing with a special tool allows you to open the edges of the lamellar layers, which reflect light and form a picture due to the superposition of light waves of different lengths.

Labradorite deposits are located all over the world, including in Europe (Labrador Antique in Norway), Ukraine (Volga Blue), northern Russia, Yakutia, Buryatia, Khabarovsk and Krasnoyarsk Territories.

Uses of labradorite

Depending on the structure (single crystal, cluster of crystals), labradorite can be used for the manufacture of:

  • smooth stone countertops suitable for kitchen furniture, massive cabinet products;
  • tiles for finishing premises and, in some cases, for external finishing of parts of walls, elements of architectural decoration of a building;
  • thin plates of mineral that can be applied and glued to the surface of furniture, giving objects a solid and impressive appearance;
  • massive products with labradorite inclusions for landscape design;
  • jewelry, mosaic and decorative elements of small and medium size from a whole crystal of weeping eye.

The stone is not classified as precious or semi-precious, and is considered affordable for business use, although some labradorites gradually increase in price as demand increases.

Labradorite in architecture and design

Interior solutions made from labradorite can be divided into several groups depending on the condition in which the stone was removed from its location. The decoration of furniture and walls with tiles looks very beautiful if you managed to find several medium-sized crystals of the same type for sawing.

The surface of labradorite that shimmers or plays with shades of color creates the impression of mystery, depth and volume, sunlight, and a solid warm and dark environment.

To finish larger slabs, a cluster of crystals is used, which is sawed and polished, after which it becomes similar to a granite slab, which has grainy inclusions of different colors or shades.

Such solutions can be used in spacious rooms of the palace and castle type, in mansions, where the combination of lighting effect and ceiling height creates an interesting picture of rich decoration. With proper selection of lighting, you can achieve the effect of changing the color of walls and individual interior elements depending on the time of day.

A stone with an unusual color, continuously shimmering in different colors – Labradorite. The stone received this name after the place from where it spread around the world – the Labrador Peninsula in eastern Canada.

However, Labradorite has many names: bull’s eye, spectolite, caryatite. Its shimmer is reminiscent of moonstone. Hence another name – “black moonstone”. In India, Labradorite is called peacock stone. Hence another name – tausit, or tavusit, which in translation just means “peacock”.

So what color is a Labrador? Regarding the general color scheme, it can be dark gray, greenish-gray, almost black, with a crimson tint, and even a rare “golden” color.

Due to its radiance and deep shimmer, this stone can be confused from afar with a more expensive opal.

The stone has become known in Europe since 1770. And of course, it immediately began to be actively used in the manufacture of jewelry – rings, brooches, earrings. Only noble people could afford such a luxury – an overseas stone.

In Russia, this gem was discovered only 11 years later, when the road to Peterhof was being built (inclusions of dark labradorite were found in the rock). So “black stone” quickly became popular, and products made from it began to be found more and more often. The royal chambers were decorated with this stone. Moreover, Labradorite became so fashionable that even the color and shine of the silk dresses of fashionistas of that time were reminiscent of it.

During the Soviet Union, everything became popular, and even in Ukraine they found the richest deposit of Labradorite. And this once precious stone began to be used even in the decoration of metro stations. For example, the columns of the Prospekt Veteranov metro station in St. Petersburg. In Moscow, it can be seen on the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” near the walls of the Kremlin, at the entrance to Lenin’s Mausoleum, the alley of hero cities in the Alexander Garden and in the sculpture “Worker and Collective Farm Woman”. As we can see, even though it was used in the decoration of public places, these are still one of the most significant objects in the country.

Labradorite is also called by the color of its iridescence (labradorization):

  • Spectrolite is the most valuable variety of Labradorite, cast in all colors of the spectrum.
  • Sunstone is a variety of Labradorite with golden iridescence.
  • Bull’s Eye is a variety of Labradorite that is purple-brown in color with bright red tints. Not to be confused with a variety of cat’s eye, which is also called “Bull’s eye”. In a cat’s eye, the iridescence is caused not by the structure, but by inclusions.
  • Black moonstone is a dark-colored variety of labradorite with iridescence in blue and light blue tones.
  • Lynx eye is a variety of Labrador with green iridescence.
  • Aventurine labradorite is a variety of labradorite with inclusions of copper, ilmenite or magnetite, creating a peculiar “aventurine” effect – a shimmering shine with a sparkling golden tint.
  • Tavusit is a variety of Labradorite with reflections similar to those of a peacock feather.

Lighter Labradors with a golden-blue hue are considered masculine, while darker ones with brownish-green tones are considered feminine.

How to distinguish natural Labradorite from a fake

The Labradorite stone, due to its exceptional feature – labradorization – is difficult to confuse with other stones, as well as to counterfeit.

To recognize it, just twirl the stone in your hands: unlike other minerals, natural labradorite will shimmer with a variety of colors moving through the translucent stone. You will see an effect that resembles a three-dimensional northern lights.

A special word about labradorite. It seems that labradorite and labradorite are the same stone. Even on our website, beads made from them are called the same. However, there is a difference. Labradorite is a mineral. And labradorite is an igneous rock, it consists almost entirely of plagioclase (a labradorite mineral, but not 100%). We must remember that a mineral and a rock are not the same thing. These are different hierarchical levels of existence of geological matter.

Well. it seemed like they had just identified the real labradorite when labradorite was mixed in with it! But it’s quite simple. Labradorite has a pronounced fine crystallization in a chaotic manner. Look at the photo of labradorite beads:

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