How To Tell the Difference: Moonstone vs. Opal
Due to the gemstones’ schiller effect, people can become confused with two different gemstones: the moonstone and the opal. There are many ways to differentiate them because they have different chemical compositions.
Both opal and moonstone come in a variety of colors from colorless to various hues of blue, gray, orange, etc. Due to the water content of opal, it has an essential “play of color” effect where a prism of colors emerges when it is struck by light.
Opal can have as much as 25% water content, and the water content of this gem causes it to bend and diffract light, causing the play of colors. Moonstone, on the other hand, has an adularescent effect.
Adularescence is also a schiller effect, but it is only just any everyday play of colors. When you observe moonstone up close, you will notice a faint glowing from within. This moonlight-like glow is adularescence and is caused by multiple layers of albite and albite inside the moonstone.
The mineral layers of the moonstone bend and play with light, causing the faint glowing. Take note that adularescence is usually observed along with the new play of colors. For example, a blue moonstone will have a rainbow play of color while showing a faint glow.
Opals are almost exclusively taken from the Australian subcontinent. Opal is also the national gem of Australia. Moonstones are unearthed from different locations, with Sri Lanka being the forerunner for moonstone production. Close competitors with moonstone production are Madagascar, India, and Brazil.
Opals are often processed to improve their aesthetic values. Sugar treatment and additional heat-related treatments like smoke treatment may also be used to render the opal and make it more marketable. Moonstones, on the other hand, usually are not processed.
However, only skilled cutters are hired to cut and polished moonstones because they have to be oriented first before cutting. If they are not oriented correctly, the sought after schiller effect may be reduced, or worse, lost. The flat plane parallel to the cleavage of the moonstone has to be found first and used as a basis before the moonstone is cut along this plane.
When it comes to value and price per carat, opals trump moonstones by a mile. The cheapest type of opal are boulder opals – these are usually white and can be still pricier than moonstone depending on the cut.
The best quality opals can fetch a staggering fifteen thousand dollars per carat. Low-quality moonstones can be bought for as cheaply as ten dollars, while high tier specimens will only go up to one thousand dollars per carat.
Opals are associated primarily with hope and are a symbol of inner purity. Moonstones are highlighted for their healing properties and are considered a stone of peace.
Cause of Popularity
Opals are beloved around the world for the refreshing play of colors present in all types of opal. Moonstones, on the other hand, are well-known for adularescence, which is a faint glowing within the stone.
Meaning of Moonstone
Moonstone is a mysterious stone with many healing properties and meanings. It is linked with the third eye chakra and the heart chakra, and also happens to be the birthstone of June. Three zodiac signs take after the moonstone as their gemstone: Scorpio, Cancer, and Libra.
In terms of planetary association, the moonstone is associated with the Moon, and its main element is water. Like other defensive wards, the moonstone is closely tied with lower frequencies, which means moonstone is an excellent healing and guarding stone for people who would like to take control of how people and their environment affect them.
The moonstone is the best gemstone for expectant mothers and current mothers. It is one of the most nurturing of stones and is an excellent stone also for building wealth and good fortune.
The moonstone is also linked with turning a new page in one’s life and entering a new phase of life. If you would like to have a new beginning but are struggling with the process that involves a lot of changes, the moonstone would be a good support stone.
Meditate daily with moonstone, and it will help calm your nerves and mind and improve your handling of stress and negative emotions. Moonstone is a most inspiring stone and is recommended for creative people who need a new streak of creative juices to pursue their passions.
Meaning of Opal
Opal is the birthstone of October and is the gemstone of several zodiac signs: Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio, and Libra. It is also of the element water, but unlike the moonstone, it vibrates at a much higher vibrational frequency – eight. Opal symbolizes hope and love and is also a clear channel for enhancing one’s consciousness. Use opal if you feel that you need to enhance the faithfulness in your relationship or friendship.
The opal, because of its strong affinity with the water element, is a mirroring gemstone. It reflects the wearer’s feelings and thoughts, so whatever you have inside you, it will be reflected by the opal.
It helps enhance your emotional profile and reduces inhibitions to become more vocal and open about what you feel. With the lack of inhibition, opal helps people strike it out on their own to become more independent.
Opal has strong links to the natural psychic talents of people. Wearing it can amplify your natural talents and render you more powerful in what you can do. For example, if you are a clairvoyant, you may use opal to widen your power scope and make yourself even more intuitive and tuned with the past, present, and future.
Opal can help reduce emotional baggage and imbalances. It can help reduce negative emotions through venting and grounding. It has purifying capacities and can help heal the detoxifying organs of the body, from the kidneys to the liver.