History of Labradorite

Labradorite is a relatively new stone for the metaphysical community and was not included in any of the ancient lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers. True Labradorite was first documented in the late eighteenth century in Labrador, Canada, from which it gets its name.  Labradorite displays brilliant flashes of iridescent blue, green and gold, a play of colors known as “labradorescence” or “Schller Effect.”  This effect is caused by the scattering of light on thin layers of a secondary Feldspar that has grown on top of an initial Feldspar.  Labradorite is typically a greyish-green or blue stone, but can also be white or even colorless.

Labradorite was first documented in 1770 on Paul’s Island in Labrador, Canada.  Labrador is located in north-eastern Canada, and is still mostly populated by First Nation peoples. According to one Eskimo legend, long ago in the ancient days the flashing Northern Lights were all trapped in rocks along the Labrador coast. One day a mighty warrior came to the area and freed the lights by hitting the rocks with his spear. Most of the Northern Lights were freed and today flash across the wintry sky.  But in a few places, the Lights remained trapped and can be seen today in Labradorite’s shimmering colors.

Aurora Borealis

A closely related stone, Spectrolite, looks very similar to Labradorite but exhibits a fuller play of colors and an astonishingly high degree of labradorescence. In addition to Labrodorites’s flashing blue, green and gold colors, Spectrolite may also shine pink, and purple.  Spectrolite was initially found in Finland during the twentieth century, and then later in Madagascar and other locals.  The Madagascar Spectrolite is widely sold as Labradorite, and today few collectors are even aware of the difference between the two stones.  Generally speaking, the name Spectrolite is used today primarily as a branding name for the minerals coming from the Finnish quarries.