Moonstone is a unique stone that belongs to the feldspar mineral family and is associated with healing, femininity, and calmness.
Dishonest vendors often try to pass off replicas for authentic Moonstone gems, so we need information about how to tell if moonstone is real.
Let’s read more about Moonstone’s reaction to light, surface appearance, price points, and color so that we don’t waste money on its man-made doppelganger, Opalite.
How To Tell If Moonstone Is Real (EXPLAINED)
Be Guided By The Light
Light plays a huge role in the value and appearance of Moonstone.
Light refraction refers to light’s ability to bend after hitting a specific point.
Moonstone refracts light at an angle of 15 degrees or less.
Before purchasing, hold the gem up to a light to check for a refraction angle greater than 15 degrees.
We will know that we are holding a fake stone if the light refracts at 16 degrees or more.
True moonstone also displays two types of optical illusions known as adularescence and irisation.
Let’s think back on a time when we took a moonlit stroll near a lake and observed moonlight gliding across it.
As we move a real Moonstone around, we will see an otherworldly shimmering glow move across it simultaneously.
This glow will always follow the light against any background.
While gazing at this stone, the light may reflect off the surface in a way that makes us believe we are looking into a cat’s eye.
From each vertical end, a band of light reflects off Moonstone in a phenomenon known as chatoyancy.
Bear in mind that this stone will have to be cut into a cabochon to provide this effect.
Opalite is often passed off as Moonstone.
Due to its synthetic makeup, there is no cat’s eye-like effect.
On a lovely late afternoon, we may observe irisation in some clouds close to the sun – clouds appear to exhibit rainbow colors.
When we see irisation in Moonstone, it appears like a flicker inside as light reflects on it.
Unlike Opalite, Moonstone will always have a blue luster or sheen.
If the gem is a cabochon, the blue sheen will center on the top.
We can view the gem from many different angles and still be able to enjoy a beautiful luster.
Observe the Color
Moonstone gems can come in a variety of body colors, including green, brown, yellow, and black.
It can also be colorless. However, the blue sheen will usually stand out regardless of body color.
Both real Moonstone and Opalite can glow.
The glow will exude different colors from both.
The color of the background light affects the color of Opalite’s glow.
Opalite can have a blue glow against a dark background but a white, translucent appearance on a background with a light color.
Sometimes, photographs are enhanced to make Opalite’s glow appear blue.
Regardless of light or background, we will always observe a blue sheen or glow around authentic Moonstone.
Let’s Get Physical
Moonstone consists of a combination of two minerals – Albite and Orthoclase.
Regardless of the cut of the gem, we can observe how these two different compounds layered together to form a Moonstone.
These layers also play an important role in the adularescence effect of the gem.
The glow effect is produced because of how light falls between the different layers.
Opalite is synthetically produced from a single substance, so it does not have this layering effect.
In addition to layers, we may also see internal scars in the Moonstone. Inclusion scars are usually a dead giveaway of the stone’s authenticity.
These scars reveal how the gem was formed – something we won’t see in a fake stone, like Opalite.
Some of the smaller scars are called centipedes.
Centipedes are the most common stress cracks and resemble the insects that bear the same name.
Moonstone will have layers and inclusions but we will never observe bubbles in the stone.
Opalite, a variant of glass, may have some bubbles that have resulted from its chemical production.
Those bubbles are the only physical variation we will see in Opalite.
We will never buy Opalite that has inclusions.
A high-end Moonstone may be clear with few inclusions but will never look like glass.
The Price Is Right
We can buy Opalite without breaking the bank.
It is very cheap and we can buy it from hobby or craft stores for as little as $5.
A legitimate Moonstone will cost us 100 times less money than a diamond.
However, it won’t be as cheap as an Opalite since it is a gemstone.
The real gem can start at $5 per carat and go up to $50 per carat.
Clear blue moonstones with high adularescence, the most valuable ones, can command $50 per carat.
Why Fake Moonstone?
Fake diamonds are quite common, but one may wonder – why are so many sellers trying to sell fake Moonstone gems?
Many of us seek this stone out because it promotes balance and is thought to harvest the moon’s energy.
Many of us desire a Moonstone crystal not only for its beauty but also because of its possible healing abilities.
Moonstone’s value increases based on its transparency, translucency, and blue adularescence.
The more transparent and colorless it is, it can command a higher value.
So a synthetic gem made from glass-like Opalite is often used as a fake replacement.
Myanmar once produced the majority of the transparent and colorless moonstones.
However, we can no longer buy the highest valued ones from that country since they have been mined out there.
Sri Lanka and Southern India are the sources of fine moonstone, which is very rare.
Final Thoughts About Buying Moonstone
Whether we desire a beautiful crystal for healing or a stunning ring, we can use the above information to ensure that only authentic Moonstone gems are part of our collection.
As we become experts about Moonstone’s reaction to light and physical characteristics, we can feel confident and comfortable about bringing home the real deal.