Labradorite vs Moonstone: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

By the end of this article, you should be able to explain the differences between these two stones, as well as how to spot the differences.

Labradorite vs Moonstone (EXPLAINED)


Labradorite and Moonstone are gemstones from the Feldspar group of minerals that are iridescent, yet opaque.

Their natural grayish to white colorations make them similar in appearance to one another.

Both stones are igneous rocks, which means they are formed deep in the earth as magma heats and creates new compounds.

Here we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between the two stones, as well as interesting facts about each.


Labradorite is a feldspar mineral that was first seen in Labrador, Canada.

This gemstone is known for its iridescent shimmer which can shift colors as you turn the stone under light.

This effect, which comes from light refracting across internal twinning surfaces, has been dubbed, “Labradorescence,” and it is important to note that not all Labradorites display this result.

The primary colorations are purple, blue, and green, each being slightly gray in hue.

Labradorite is formed near mafic igneous rocks like norite and basalt.

It is part of the plagioclase group of rocks, which includes other Feldspar minerals such as Albite, Andesine, and Anorthite, and often they are difficult to separate from one another.

When this occurs, gemologists use x-ray diffraction as well as chemical analysis to determine which stone is which.

Labradorite is registered on the Mohs scale of hardness at 6 to 6.5, and it has a whitish streak.

Labradorite was identified in 1770 by a missionary on the Isle of Paul, Canada.

High quality specimens have also been found in Finland, while darker ones are seen in Russia and Madagascar.

Labradorite is also used in the metaphysical community as a stone of higher intuition.        


Moonstone is a silicate of the Feldspar group of minerals that displays a pearlescent shimmer.

This gemstone is best known as a whitish-pearl stone with large black flecks in various spots.

Moonstone is also seen in a variety of colors such as blue, pink, green, peach, and brown. There are even some specimens that appear colorless.

Moonstone has a shimmering effect that gemologists call, “Adularescence,” which occurs from a diffraction of light inside the layers of Feldspar deep in the gem.

Moonstone is registered on the Mohs scale of hardness at a 6 to 6.5, and it has a white streak due to its silica nature.  

Moonstone has been a part of prominent cultures for centuries.

The ancient Romans believed Moonstone came from solidified rays of moonlight, and many ancient civilizations likened it to lunar deities.

Moonstone has been used in jewelry for this and other reasons for just as long.

New Age followers believe the stone helps to balance emotions and project self-love.

How Labradorite and Moonstone are Similar

Both Labradorite and Moonstone are created by intense heat deep in the earth’s crust.

They get their iridescent shimmers from the unique layers of minerals that form together and cool slowly.

This leads to the refractive nature of both internal structures.

These stones are sometimes called “sister stones” due to their similarities in appearance and design.

Both stones are triclinic in their crystal structure, which means there are three unequal vectors that contribute to a non-symmetrical design.   

Labradorite and Moonstone both show a white streak and are registered at 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.

This means that the preliminary identification tests used for each stone will warrant the same conclusions, and this is due to their similarities in creation.

In addition, Labradorite has a specific gravity of 2.7, while Moonstone’s specific gravity is 2.6.

Because of this, both stones can feel the same to the touch.

Feldspar minerals make up an estimated 60% of the earth’s crust, which makes it easy to see how these stones are similar and abundant.

Both gemstones are used in jewelry and are revered by the metaphysical community as having healing benefits for emotional stability and intuition.

They are both connected to deities and are related to the element of water.  

How Labradorite and Moonstone Differ

Despite their initial similarities, Labradorite and Moonstone have marked differences.

Moonstone is a brighter stone with lighter variations in peach, pink, silver, and even a rainbow coloration.

Rainbow Moonstone is pearlescent with bits of black tourmaline throughout.

Labradorite exhibits a grayish hue overall despite its iridescent blues, greens, and purples.

Moonstone is primarily made from potassium sodium, while Labradorite is comprised of calcium sodium.

This chemical difference is one way to distinguish the two when they are otherwise identical to the naked eye.

In Moonstone, the minerals needed for the iridescence are cooled at separate times, giving the stone its unique light-billowing properties.

Labradorite’s iridescence, however, is caused by the slow cooling process of the lamellar structure within the stone.

This allows the minerals of calcium, sodium, and silicon to separate and diffuse.

Labradorite is found mainly in parts of Canada and Finland, and it was only recently discovered in the 1700s.

Moonstone, however, was used by ancient civilizations and can be found in parts of the middle east as well as Madagascar, Australia, Brazil, and the United States.

Some of the highest quality Moonstones are mined in India.  

Common Reasons for Confusing Labradorite and Moonstone

Both Labradorite and Moonstone feel and behave in the same manner.

They are equally heavy and leave a whitish streak.

The two are also iridescent in nature and cause a shimmering effect that can often appear prismatic and like a rainbow.

A true Rainbow Moonstone is known for behaving like a pale Labradorite, leading many to casually refer to it as “White Labradorite.”

Both of the gems are similar in price, but Moonstone can be a little more expensive.

The gemstones are commonly found across the planet, making them accessible for jewelry. Tumbled gemstones of both Labradorite and Moonstone can have the same opaque luster, but Labradorite may be vitreous and is enhanced by a grayish hue.

In Conclusion

Labradorite and Moonstone are both gemstones of the Feldspar family that are formed by intense heat.

They are both found in various parts of the world, with Moonstone having higher quality deposits in the Middle east and Labradorite primarily hailing from Canada.

Labradorite and Moonstone are equally iridescent as they both refract light from deep within their structures and not from the surface.

The stones are known for their metaphysical healing properties within New Age groups and are common adornments for jewelry.

Labradorite and Moonstone display similarities in color variations, but Labradorite is often darker.

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Labradorite vs Moonstone