Black labradorite is a specific type of labradorite that is especially rare and unique.
Despite its charcoal color, it still displays the characteristic ‘labradorescence’ of traditional labradorite.
Because of its value, you want to ensure that your labradorite is genuine.
Here are some great ways to discern real black labradorite from fake.
Black Labradorite Stone
Black Labradorite Facts
Labradorite is typically found in igneous rock formations, often within basalt and gabbro.
It has a fairly simple chemical makeup of feldspar mineral that is rich in calcium.
This is what creates the famous ‘labradorescence’, a rather breathtaking optical rainbow affectation.
As light is shone through it, the crystalline structure acts almost like a prism, creating a holographic light display within the stone.
It doesn’t reflect color off the surface of the stone, like most other crystals; instead, the color comes from within.
However, there are some labradorite stones that don’t have a great labradorescence, so it can be a bit of a gambol when buying raw material.
Labradorite comes in many colors, and black labradorite is rarer than most.
It still has the labradorescence, but, instead of showing a wide range of colors, it is various shades of dark grey and charcoal as a background, dappled with usually bright blue, pink, or, rarely, purple.
It almost always has the silver sheen classic of labradorite stones and can be purchased raw, tumbled, or polished.
Where Is Black Labradorite Found?
Labradorite was first discovered in Labrador, Canada, which is where it got its name.
Since then, it has mainly also been found in Finland, but there are very few occurrences of it being found anywhere else.
Actually, Finland is the home of the most valuable and stunning kind of labradorite, called spectrolite.
This is the highest-grade kind of labradorite because it has some of the most intense colors of any labradorite stone.
It is usually deep red or purple atop a black background, making the colors seem even brighter.
This is the highest priced labradorite, so if you find spectrolite for lower prices, then that is a red flag that it is not true spectrolite.
Tips For Identifying Black Labradorite
Here are some easy ways to ensure that your black labradorite is, in fact, the real thing.
Check for the labradorescence
This is the feature that visually distinguishes labradorite more than any other.
The crystal structures on the inside create a ‘twinning’ effect, which reflects light within the stone instead of across the surface.
Black labradorite has a labradorescence consisting of black and grey layers, usually with a cobalt blue intermingled (although, you will rarely find other colors instead).
Check the luster
When looking for a stone’s luster, you’re seeing how much light is reflected off a stone.
A crystal like quartz will have a bright, sparkly luster, for instance.
However, labradorite is uncommon in that it doesn’t reflect light off the surface, but, instead, reflects light through the inside.
So, the luster will be low, but the inner reflections will be high (and quite beautiful).
Check the hardness
The easiest way to check a stone’s hardness is by using the MOHS hardness scale.
This is luckily a very easy test to administer.
It is a scale from one to ten, with one being the softest and ten being the hardest.
Something higher up on the scale will be able to scratch something lower down, but not the other way around.
Black labradorite is a six on the MOHS scale, so it is a little softer than some well known stones.
Steel is lower, usually a five, so black labradorite should be able to scratch steel.
Try testing this with your stone on a steel knife.
If your black labradorite is able to scratch the knife, then you know that it’s higher up on the scale.
If you want to be even more accurate, try scratching the black labradorite with a substance higher up on the scale.
Quartz is a seven, so if it is able to scratch your stone, then you will have a very good idea of what the hardness of the black labradorite is.
Check the cleavage
When stones split from their rock formations, the cleavage refers to the angles at which the stone breaks.
This is caused by soft spots and specific mineral striations within the stone.
Black labradorite cleaves in a very particular way, at two distinct, intersecting angles. One angle is at 86° and the other is at 94°.
Although this might be a little harder to gauge, it is a very accurate way to identify a labradorite stone.
Black labradorite is sometimes confused with other stones
Most commonly, black labradorite is mistaken for black moonstone because it comes in a similar range of colors and displays an optical effect akin to black labradorite.
In fact, it has a very similar composition and is considered sister stones with labradorite.
However, its effects are not as dramatic, so be careful about paying more money for black moonstone than it’s worth.
Larvikite is another black stone similar to black labradorite that can have optical effects similar to those of black labradorite.
However, it has other banding and inclusions that labradorite does not have, so watch out for these other colors.
Also, be wary of treated black labradorite
Labradorite, including black labradorite, is a common victim of heat treating and dying.
Vendors do this to labradorite that is less vibrant to make the colors look brighter, or even to other stones to try and swindle people into buying a cheap stone for more money.
Luckily, these falsified stones can be easily told apart from the real thing.
Dyes tend to be a little too bright, so if the color looks fake, it probably is.
Stones also tend to be heat treated before dying, which causes tiny, spider web-looking cracks throughout the stone, and the dye is injected into these cracks.
So, if the color looks like a spider web, that’s a sure-fire way to tell if it’s fake.
Also keep in mind that this will most often soften, if not completely take away, the labradorescence.
What is black labradorite used for?
Since labradorite is a relatively soft stone, it’s not used too commonly for jewelry, although you can sometimes find it in that form.
If you have a piece of black labradorite jewelry, be extra careful to keep it out of jewelry boxes and away from other stones, since the softest touch from something harder can scratch the beautiful stone.
Its most common use is as polished slabs for decoration.
You can also find tumbled labradorite stones, which some people use for spiritual practices.
It is thought to help seekers find the truth and to clear negative energy.
Black labradorite is very rare and beautiful.
Make sure that you have a genuine black labradorite using the tips above, and enjoy your very special stone.
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