Spectrolite and labradorite are two stones that are popular among collectors and enthusiasts.
However, they can sometimes be difficult to tell apart.
Here’s what you need to know to make identifying these stones easier.
Spectrolite vs Labradorite: Explained
Let’s Start With Labradorite: What Is It?
Among crystals with colors, Labradorite tends to be a favorite.
It’s a rainbow type of stone that appears in a mixture of green, gold and blue, often looking very metallic in terms of sheen and form.
Labradorite was originally found in Canada, where the crystal gets its name from, Labrador.
However, with greater exploration and mining, Labradorite has been found in multiple locations around the world, including Australia, Madagascar and the U.S. Adirondack range.
Some of the rarer colors have become the most sought after version, appearing in reds and purples and even a soft pink version.
The best quality versions of the crystal have to date been appearing in the island of Madagascar, off the eastern coast of Africa.
Geology Aspects of Labradorite
In geological terms, Labradorite is considered a feldspar.
It is in the plagioclase series of rocks and crystals, which is considered an igneous type of rock.
The same grouping includes minerals such as basalt and norite as well.
Labradorite can be found on its own, or it is commonly embedded within anorthosite.
In all of these cases, the fact that Labradorite is from an igneous creation means it has gone through a molten lava process before cooling and becoming the mineral that it is.
The actual coloring and display of shades with the mineral is often termed “labradorescence,” also named after the original find location, and is a play on light.
The stone itself, believe it or not, is not the color seen.
Instead, light hits the stone, and the surface of it gives off a refraction with coloring.
This surface feature is known as twinning.
The variations in the twinning cause changes in what the eye sees in terms of reflected light.
As a result, many of the stones and fragments show off multiple colors.
It is far rarer to find a Labradorite that is all one color with a uniform twinning surface causing the effect.
Alternatively, a version of Labradorite that has a significant of copper infused in it is known as Sunstone.
This version of Labradorite has inclusions of copper or similar element that line up just right to create flash effects as light hits the stone, ergo the nickname.
Labradorite can go in water, as it has a hardness level of above 6, though we don’t recommend it due to ever present risk of damaging the beautiful appearance of the stone.
The Spectrolite Variation
Spectrolite, interestingly enough, is not a different kind of crystal.
It is actually a version of Labradorite that has the unique appearance of an entire rainbow of colors versus two or three specific ones.
Another clear difference is how the colors are separated in Spectrolite.
The crystal develops with clear, distinct borders between its colors.
Normal Labradorite, for example, is a bit of a blurry mess, morphing from one color to another.
This particular version of Labradorite crystal can only be located in Finland, which makes its rarity and uniqueness that much more powerful.
Most of the supply comes from one location, the Finnish quarry, Ylamaa.
In terms of market value, Spectrolite tends to have more demand, easily being placed into the category of a semi-precious gem.
Rock collectors and crystal buyers are going to find that trying to add Spectrolite to a collection will cost a pretty penny.
The Finnish crystal easily commands a much higher price than any similar-sized Labradorite on the market, and the scarcity of the former makes it harder to find as well, driving demand further.
Unfortunately, many folks also get confused with buying against high-quality Labradorite which, as mentioned above, comes instead from Madagascar and is more plentiful.
Jewelry and Gemstone Applications of Labradorite and Spectrolite
As noted earlier, Labradorite is regularly sought after for gemstone qualities, and it is the Spectrolite version that commands the biggest prices.
However, even average pieces of Labradorite can be used for jewelry and gemstone pieces because of the iridescent factor of the mineral.
Stones that have a particularly deep coloring or uniform look tend to be extremely popular, set either as support pieces or main pieces because of the size of the unit.
Interestingly, finding jewelry with Labradorite settings is not going to be easy with typical consumer stores.
The stone is most often used by designer crafters who either sell direct or through specific dealers.
In terms of care, Labradorite jewelry needs a bit more maintenance and protection than typical gemstones.
The hardness of Labradorite measures a Mohs scale level 6, and it is prone to scratching as well as cleaving if impacted with a hard hit, such as dropping it on a hard floor.
This factor also contributes to why the stone is not frequently used in commercial jewelry on a regular basis.
Metaphysical Benefits and Advantages of Labradorite and Spectrolite
From the metaphysical perspective, Labradorite is a transformation tool.
It’s been repeatedly recommended for use with helping spiritual travel, or when a person feels like life is stuck in a broken record situation and one can’t seem to get out of it towards improvement.
The stone is associated with helping boost self-confidence as well as helping the user focus energy on effective, positive paths forward.
Labradorite has also been associated with spiritual protection and as a physical tool towards fending off negative elements, influences and ideas from external sources.
It is also widely recommended when working towards breaking addictions to harmful behaviors such as smoking or drug abuse.
In its simplest form of protection, many wearers simply hold onto Labradorite for good luck while traveling.
Spectrolite in a metaphysical sense has similar traits to general Labradorite, but Spectrolite emphasizes more advantages in the areas of helping relationships, developing internal value and spiritual confidence, and focusing cognitive abilities on greater accomplishments and output, particularly during periods of sustained performance and work.
The stone version is often associated with anxiety and stress reduction, reducing co-dependency, helping the body find internal metabolic balance, improving blood pressure, and focusing on physical vision.
Obtaining Labradorite or Spectrolite
Either stone is likely going to be available through gem and rock shops specializing in a wider array of rocks and minerals or through jewelry providers who handle designer-specific pieces versus general fine jewelry.
One might need to make some extended trips to find suppliers due to the fact that the gemstone is not found in mainstream channels, as mentioned earlier.