You’re at the right place if you want to know the difference between moonstone and opal. Keep scrolling!
Moonstone Vs Opal
In this guide, we’ll be exploring the differences between moonstone and opal along with answering some of the most frequently asked questions about them including:
- Are pink opals fake or real?
- Is moonstone durable?
- Is opal best suited for engagement rings?
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Key Differences between Moonstone and Opal
- High-quality opals fall on the higher side of the pricing spectrum while moonstones are relatively cheap.
- Lab created opals are quite common while lab created moonstones are unheard of.
- Moonstones tend to glow blue or white while opals show many different colors
- An opal shows opalescence while a moonstone shows adularescence
Origin – Moonstone Vs Opal
There are two different types of moonstones on the market. However, most people know about the stone but fail to realize that rainbow moonstones are quite different from natural moonstones. Surprisingly, rainbow moonstones are not moonstones at all. Read on to find out more!
Rainbow moonstone is a species of labradorite gemstone. Moonstones, on the other hand, are a variety of orthoclase. Natural moonstones contain two different minerals – orthoclase and albite. Rainbow moonstone and moonstone are like typical cousins since they’re both part of the feldspar group.
You can find natural moonstone gems in Australia, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Brazil, India and Mexico. For the most part, rainbow moonstone usually come from Madagascar and India. If you’re looking for the trendiest of gemstone jewelry, then moonstone is the way to go.
Just as the name suggests, moonstones are mostly associated with the moon. In the ancient days, people believed that moonstones were typically a solidification of captured moon beams that eventually turned into gemstones.
What’s more, when looking for feminine stones, most people leaned towards moonstone jewelry. Women used to wear moonstone jewelry to not only protect the little ones but also increase fertility.
Moonstone has spiritual properties that people believe help with inner purity, inner self healing, getting rid of negative emotions, bringing confidence, parenting, new beginnings, fertility and enhancing intuition among others.
Opal is one of the most popular gemstones in the modern-day world. It’s the birthstone for those born in October that’s why most people are familiar with it. It’s also a national gem in Australia. That’s why most opal stones are found in Australia.
Opal gemstones are made from silicon dioxide compounds after which you can find then in water deposits. Once the silica sphere forms, they mix with different minerals as the water flows in the area. The water tumbles the minerals to create opal stones.
In addition, the tumbled minerals mix with some non-opal compounds to create jasper opal, opalized petrified wood, opalized wood and agate opal. The opals are known as boulder opals when you leave them in their original matrix stone.
As earlier mentioned, opal has healing properties although it’s quite popular when used in jewelry pieces. People still believe that opals tend to intensify emotions owing to its higher vibration energy. Plus, it not only brings balance and good karma but also increase creativity and energy.
High-quality opal stones are found in India, Australia, Mexico and Ethiopia.
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Appearance – Moonstone Vs Opal
Authentic moonstone usually occurs in a range of colors. However, the most sought-after moonstone varieties come in blue and white. There are other different moonstones colors including beige, blue, brown, reddish brown, pink, peach, creamy yellow and grey.
Rainbow moonstone crystals have transparent to translucent white body color along with rainbow flashes. Moonstones that come with blue and white flashes usually have adularescence – some sort of schiller effect. However, you must cut the stones to cabochons to see this phenomenon. You should be able to see a bright blue flash on the gemstone if you tilt it at a particular angle under some lighting.
When scattered lighting passes through the gemstones, it tends to create a bright blue flash. White moonstones, on the other hand, usually have a faint glow.
Imitations and Synthetics
You don’t have to synthesize moonstone since it’s quite common. However, blue Ceylon moonstones are rare although replicating this stone is an exercise in futility. Moonstone is imitated or confused with other related gemstones. For instance, moonstone and rainbow moonstone.
Most people can’t tell the difference between moonstone and opal because both stones show color flashes under lighting especially when turned at specific angles. Plus, they also have the same white translucent color. However, the differences between the two stones are quite significant.
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Opal stones are known to have a milky white translucent body color. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all opal stones are white. Premium grade opals come from Lighting Ridge Australia. The most valuable of them all are black opals with gray to dark blue color. Fire opals, otherwise known as Mexican opals usually have an orange hue.
Precious opal and moonstone are both cut en cabochon to display the color flashes. But Mexican opals are an exception since they’re faceted owing to their fiery orange gems. By now, you already know that opals have opalescence while moonstones have adularescence.
Opals have a chemical structure that diffracts light which in turn cause color flashes. Remember, you can never find two identical opal stones.
When you place an opal stone at an angle, you’ll see a play of color. This means that different patterns tend to occur across the color of the body. Generally, you’re bound to see yellow, orange and green hues on the surface. Opal stones that display a play of color are known as precious opals.
Imitations and Synthetics
Zales and Kay Jewelers are the most popular brands that have a collection of lab created opal stones. These stores stock both pink and blue opals. Pink opals are lab created but we can’t say the same about their blue counterparts.
Blue Peruvian opals feature a bluish green body hue with no play of color. On the flip side, blue opal stones usually have a play of color.
Rainbow moonstone and opalite are the most common gemstone imitations in the industry. Opalite is typically a manmade glass with iridescence. The two stones are less valuable as compared to precious opal since they don’t exude color flashes.
Opal and rainbow moonstone tend to look alike especially when faceted. However, precious opal has bright flashes.
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Price and Value – Moonstone Vs Opal
Moonstone and opal stones prices vary depending on their quality. One of the most widespread mineral groups in the country is feldspar. High-quality moonstones are quite rare but low-quality ones are all over the place.
A Ceylon moonstone with stronger adularescence costs $40 per carat. Opals are different altogether. Opals are relatively expensive. They aren’t rare although stones with atypical patterns are more valuable.
The most valuable of opals are the black ones. Finer color specimens cost up to a maximum of $8,000 per carat. Fire opals can go for up to $100 per carat while lab created opal stones are more affordable. Generally, the cost of opals ranges from $50 up to $8,000 per carat.
Moonstones and opals are barely hard stones. Plus, they’re not best suited for engagement rings since they’re more susceptible to scratch. Opal has a rating of 5.5 to 6 on Mohs scale of hardness while moonstone is rated at 6 to 6.5. This means that the mineral hardness of moonstone is better than that of opal.
Mohs scale of hardness helps measure a mineral’s Scratchability level with diamonds being the hardest minerals on earth rated at 10. Moonstone has gemstone cleavage. This means that it’s likely to crack when hit at the right spot.
Moonstones and opals have a lot of similarities as well as key differences. Rainbow moonstone and natural moonstone are part of feldspar mineral group although they have different chemical properties. Opals, on the other hand, are formed in silicon oxide compounds and found in water deposits.
Opals display green, yellow and orange flashes while moonstones exude white or blue glow. Both moonstone and opal are fragile and more susceptible to damage especially when worn daily. They’re great jewelry pieces. However, you should wear them sparingly.
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