Is Labradorite a Valuable Stone?

Labradorite is a feldspar mineral that is part of the plagioclase series. It is known for its iridescent play of colors – blues, greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and grays. The shimmering colors appear as light moves across the stone’s surface. This phenomenon is called labradorescence. But is this what makes labradorite a valuable gemstone?

Labradorite has been used in jewelry and handicrafts for centuries. The Inuit peoples of Labrador, Canada valued the stone and used it decoratively long before European settlers arrived. More recently, labradorite became popular in the jewelry and metaphysical communities. Its allure lies primarily in its optical effects. The flashy colors draw the eye in.

In the gemstone market, labradorite is considered a semi-precious stone. It is abundantly available and affordable compared to precious gems like diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. High quality specimens with strong labradorescence and few flaws can reach several hundred dollars per carat for cabs or beads. But most pieces sell for under $50 even when set in sterling silver jewelry. So from a monetary standpoint, labradorite sits firmly in the semi-precious category.

Yet the optical phenomenon of labradorescence makes this an intriguing stone. No other common mineral has this same ability to showcase an array of colors in diffused flashes and swirls. Labradorite ranks around 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, so it is durable enough for jewelry. The striking play of colors draws attention when set in rings, pendants, beads, and cabochons.

For collectors and gem enthusiasts, higher end labradorite can be quite valuable. Premium stones mined from Finland or Madagascar exhibit a highly coveted blue-violet sheen. These rare labradorites show intense flashes covering 70% or more of the surface. Other factors like clarity, cut, carat size, and settings will also influence value. A finely cut labradorite cabochon or faceted stone in an artisan designed pendant could fetch over $1000.

In the metaphysical realm, labradorite is regarded as a stone of transformation and magic by crystal healers. It is said to clear negative energies, bring inner wisdom to light, and help discover one’s full potential. This mystical allure adds intangible value for new age practitioners and collectors.

While not as pricey as precious gems, unique labradorite specimens with strong labradorescence do have considerable value because of their unmatched play of colors. For both jewelry lovers and spiritual seekers, labradorite remains a captivating and visually stunning semi-precious gem.