Labradorite has a grey to grey-blackish colour with a wonderful iridescence, also referred to as labradorescence. This shimmer is the result of light diffraction in the layers of rock. When labradorite is exposed to light and turned into different angles, the shine of different colours can be seen. This spectral play of colour is a result of tiny, desirable inclusions which can make a translucent labradorite appear blue. Labradorite is a transparent to opaque material. The translucent gemstones are more desirable because they display the sought-after labradorescence. Labradorites that don’t exhibit the labradorescence can still make beautiful jewellery pieces due to their aventurescence, a shimmer caused by the diffraction of light from mineral platelets.
Popular colours are royal blue and multi-coloured labradorites. But there are also colourless, orange-red and brownish variations. The metallic tints of labradorite can show the full spectrum of colour, especially in spectrolite which is named after the full range of colour that it exhibits.
Labradorite is mostly available as cabochons and pendant as those cuts maximize the iridescence. However, transparent gemstones can be faceted. Labradorite can also be cut into round shapes for beaded jewellery.
Tiger’s Eye Quartz
Tiger's Eye has a very distinct golden-brown to brownish-gold colour. It is typically multi-coloured with brown, black or stripes and a wavy pattern. Depending on the viewing angle the colour can appear darker or lighter. However, high levels of iron can lead to a more blue’ish tone. Tiger's Eye can be found in many locations around the world, but predominantly in Thailand and the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Other notable deposits and sources include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Spain and the USA. Tiger’s Eye was first discovered in South Africa in the early 1800s. The German mineralogist Wilbel developed the first theories about the formation of this amazing gemstone in 1873. The gemstone received the name ‘Tiger’s eye’ because of its resemblance to the eye of a tiger however not many people have seen the eye of a tiger up close. It was originally the narrow slits in the gemstone that resembled the eye of a big cat. It was later on that the colour eventually related to the eye of a tiger. Tiger’s Eye quartz is a special type of gemstone because it is known in mineralogy terms as a pseudomorph which means ‘false form’. This is because during the creating process the quartz is embedded between the fibers of the crocidolite and eventually the crocidolite is completely dissolved. The quartz then takes a fibrous form and creates the parallel lines in the gemstone. It is the sodium and the iron in the Tiger’s Eye that creates the golden colour that is seen.
Smoky Quartz varies in colours such as brown, smoky-grey or black. The characteristic colour is created when the Smoky Quartz is exposed to a radioactive material for a very long period of time. It is not completely understood how the Smoky Quartz is created, however we do know that radiation plays a large role in altering the structure of the gemstone to create its magnificent colour. And the end product is completely non-hazardous to human health.
Smoky Quartz comes from many sources around the world. The worlds’ largest supplier is Brazil, followed by the Pikes Peak area of Colorado (USA) with the Swiss Alps close behind where many tonnes of the gemstone have been mined. Smoky Quartz is a type of microcrystalline quartz (silicon dioxide) which is a branch of the family that incudes Amethyst, Citrine and Rose quartz. The Smoky quartz rises and falls in fashion however it has always been a consistent gemstone to purchase. This is because it is inexpensive and can be found in large sizes. Throughout history, smoky quartz was the material used for the crystal balls of fortune tellers. Smoky quartz can be cut and manipulated into several shapes and can sometimes be found fashioned into innovative faceted cuts, as well as in cabochons and carvings.
We have presented to you three gemstones which are our season favourites - Labradorite, Tiger's Eye and Smoky Quartz. They all have very distinct features that make them unique. Despite these three being our favourites we still provide many more gemstones that all are equally spectacular. We have a wide range of gemstones that can be used for a wide range of designs which all have their very own distinct features. To see our full range please click HERE.