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

Opalite and Moonstone can easily be confused for each other, especially if you don’t really understand what they are and how they are different.

In this article, we’ll give you some background to help you figure out which is which when you come across them.

Opalite vs Moonstone: The Basics

Opalite is a type of opal that has been artificially created.

It’s often mistaken for moonstone, which is a mineral with similar properties and appearance.

Opalite is found in many modern applications, while moonstone is rarer and more valuable.

What Is Opalite?

Opalite is a version of an opal that human mechanisms have forged, processed, shaped, and polished for its intended use.

Opalites are to opals what cubic zirconium is to diamonds, and they are widely available.

Because it’s artificial, opalite is usually found in various colors that are a mixture of brown and green.

It can also be found in yellow, brown, blue, and others.

The Physical Properties of Opalite

Opalite is often smooth after being polished and is often very lightweight, making it a prime choice for many jewelry pieces and decorations.

The critical thing to remember about this manufactured stone is that it does not sparkle the way other rocks might.

The opalite pieces are mostly made of different metals fused and processed with dolomites.

Forging them this way gives off a soft, almost glowing look, which is why they are so popular.

They mimic genuine opals in this manner, as natural opals are difficult to find.

The hardness of opalite ranks between 5.5-6.5 on Moh’s scale, which means most other materials can scratch it.

Some pieces are very brittle.

What Is Moonstone?

Moonstone is a mineral with a feldspar variety and has barium present in its chemical structure.

It’s known for having a blue or gray, sheen-less rainbow appearance when held against the light.

Once processed, it’s glossy, and depending on how it’s held, it looks like a wave or ripple of water moves inside of it.

It was primarily used in jewelry adornments before the availability of other gemstones became more widespread.

The Physical Properties of Moonstone

Moonstone is often rough after being dug up from underground and is often quite heavy for its size due to the minerals it contains.

It’s also seen as one of the most difficult stones to cut or polish because moonstones are dense with mineral content.

The critical thing about this stone is that when light shines on it at certain angles, you’ll see flashes and sparkles reflecting at you, which gives rise to part of its name – “moon” stone.

This property alone makes a genuine moonstone highly attractive and valuable.

Unlike the manufactured stones, moonstones cannot be easily stained or broken because they’re made from natural minerals.

However, they will lose their luster over time if not cared for properly.

If worn as jewelry, this may mean polishing them again after months have passed with wear.

Opalite vs Moonstone: The Similarities

Opalite and moonstone are two gemstones with a lot of similarities.

They’re both opaque, and they can be found all over the world.

Both types of stones are made up of silicon dioxide (SiO2) with traces of water and other elements such as iron or titanium oxides.

Opalite vs Moonstone: The Differences

Opalites are often confused with moonstones because authentic opals and moonstones are both made up of feldspar minerals. 

  • Opalite has an amorphous structure. Moonstone has a crystalline structure.
  • Opalite does not have as high a luster. Moonstone has luster.
  • Opalite is usually a soft blue. After processing, moonstone is generally blue, green, or both.
  • Opalite is lighter than moonstone and can easily scratch. Moonstone is heavier and scratch-resistant.

Opalite vs Moonstone: Why the Two are Confused

Some of the stone’s features can confuse people who have not seen them before.

  • Both stones can be attractive to look
  • Both stones are used in jewelry
  • Both stones look similar when polished up
  • Both stones appear in many types of jewelry
  • Both can be found in similar color patterns and markings

How to Identify Opalite

Opalite is soft, smooth, and usually a blue or a light-blue color.

The pieces are lightweight, can be brittle, and will easily scratch.

It never sparkles, even when held up to the light.

How to Identify Moonstone

Moonstones will always be naturally heavier, even if only slightly when compared to the same size opalite.

You can always identify this stone when holding it up the light.

In an unpolished state, it is almost translucent with blue, green, or both inside.

It looks like a very see-through agate.

In a polished form, the blue and green inside will appear to “move” as you tilt the stone in different directions at different speeds.

This stone is a deep electric blue in its rarest and most pure state, with light that moves across the surface like a futuristic device.

Where to Find Opalite

The best places to find opalites are in the eastern United States and Canada.

Typically, opalite can be found at jewelry stores or metal shops that cater to metalsmiths.

Where to Find Moonstone

Moonstones are mined all around the world in places like India, Australia, and North America.

They are also mined from some of these places: Australia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, and Madagascar.

Gemstone shops and other providers may provide easier access to these stones if you’re looking for them in a polished state.

Mining this mineral yourself comes with a hefty price tag and complex permit application processes.

What Opalite is Used For

Opalite is primarily used in jewelry making for earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and even decorations requiring beadwork.

Outside of that, many people believe that it contains metaphysical or different types of energy properties that help people release emotions.

What Moonstone is Used For

Moonstones are used primarily for jewelry.

You can find them in pendants, rings, brooches, and earrings.

It is best to use moonstones in geometric shapes of round, oval, pear, or cushion.

This stone has a higher price tag because it is rarer than other stones.

Moonstone is said to have metaphysical healing properties related to the moon goddess Selene, the daughter of Hyperion and Theia.

Some people believe that moonstone helps with communication and intuition and insomnia and stress.

Opalite and moonstone both symbolize the moon, have similar visual properties, and are attractive in jewelry.

Both opalite and moonstone have their place and usefulness. 

Which do you enjoy the most?