A plagioclase feldspar in the same family as Labradorite and moonstone, displaying with intense reds, oranges and yellows as well as blues and greens, Spectrolite is found only in Finland. Spectrolite was discovered quite by accident in 1940 during the Second World War, when stone was being quarried Finland's eastern border for the purpose of making antitank obstacles, which makes it a more recent discovery than the well-known Labradorite from Canada and Madagascar. I find it divine that this light came into the world at such a dark time. Spectrolite reminds us of this as it goes dark and then, flashes it's light at us. Spectrolite is a very high grade of dark based labradorite found only in Finland. If the stone is from Madagascar or Labrador it is NOT Spectrolite and is not a semi precious gem. The name "Spectrolite" is a trade name given to this material by the Finns, and only this material can truly be called Spectrolite.
Spectrolite usually comes in small to medium sized crystals. This means that most of the gemstones are one of a kind and will never be repeated. The larger crystals are gone, I mean GONE. So, if you see a stone I've cut in my galleries, there is a very good possiblity I cannot come close to that color/pattern again. Get it while you can!
The Spectrolite is regarded by gemologists as the world's most beautiful labradorite and in the semi-precious category.
What's the difference between Spectrolite & Labradorite? While Spectrolite is a variety of Labradorite, it comes only from Finland; the play of color is always in a black to very dark grey base material sometimes called Spectrolite granite. It is a 'high end' material, usually selling in the rough by the gram or even the carat. Spectrolite in it's highest grades rivals the best Australian Opal. A cabochon from 4mm to 25mm has a value (in Miller/Sinkankas Catalog of Gem Values, 1994) of between $10-$225 per carat. (blue is the most common 'play of color' in Spectrolite). Red or magenta( which is called red) Spectrolite is listed as having a value of $175 per carat.. Royal purple seems to be equally rare or more so. Prices vary based on the quality, cut and color of the stone. Fine cracks and matrix lower the value, but the reds and purples will always be the most sought after. Also look for intricate color patterning and lack of matrix and veiling ( white lines) for your high end Spectrolite investment
Labradorite, on the other hand, comes from Labrador or Madagascar. The labradorescence is found in a paler, light grey/green matrix; in the Gem Values book (1994) the value of a 7-30 mm labradorite cabochon was listed at $5 - $30 per stone. I've noticed many sellers calling Madagascar Labradorite "Spectrolite" here lately as gem Spectrolite has become so rare. This is actually illegal as Spectrolite is Finland's national gem and the name "Spectrolite" is trademarked. They are also asking a lot for the lower quality Labradorite, but it isn't Spectrolite and it isn't the semi precious Finnish gem. Sellers are also backing thier Labradorite with a black material to give it the dark look of finnish Specrolite! There is only ONE Spectrolite and that's from Finland.
The pictures of my Spectrolite are 'true'. You will get the astounding color flashes pretty much as you see it in these photos or better. Of course, there are positions in which you'll barely see this "Schiller Effect".
Spectrolite is "oriented along the plane of color". Any photographer is going to try to show their gem at it's best, but the color flows around this stone and it is sometimes completely black. As with any gem, even diamonds, it will show best in strong light to flash fully! So, if you're looking for a neon sign around your neck, Spectrolite may not be for you. Spectrolite does what IT wants, not always what we humans might prefer.
After working Spectrolite for many years it is apparent to me that this stone is the epitome of Yin/Yang. It's incredible color flashes and then darkness, is the very definition of that concept.
Spectrolite is VERY difficult to slab, shape, and orient the flash on a stone with the results of a full gem "Schiller" flash. I cut and orient my spectrolite to flash at right angles to the light source, as it is meant to be cut. Many cutters make beginner's mistakes with the rough and try to cut it rounded like a regular cabochon. This loses the Schiller and wrecks the value of the gem. I've seen many gorgeous pieces of rough ruined this way and I always groan because that stone will never be seen again. Spectrolite must ALWAYS be cut as flat as possible. There's a trick to it, of course. A "true gem" will show "Schiller" in several directions. The better the color patterns are, the more value the gem has.
These gems are increasingly difficult to obtain. Regardless of what you read on other sites, the reds and purples will ALWAYS be the most valuable and rare, and thus, more costly.
To view my handcut designer cabochons see:Spectrolite Gallery I also design and make my rare stones into fabulous jewelry for you, if you like. Example:
Metaphysical properties: Spectrolite is said to provide quick relief from anxiety, hopelessness and depression, replacing them with enthusiasm, self-confidence and inspiration. It is said to dispell negativity and to bring clear understanding by enhancing clarity of thought and improving one's ability to cooperate with others in harmony. Spectrolite is also said to give perseverance, strength and enhanced intuition when one is experiencing times of conflict and change.
Spectrolite is said to be helpfull in treating eye and brain disorders, and to help regulate metabolism and the digestive process.
Spectrolite: a gem for our times.
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