You’re at the right place if you want to know the difference between opalite and moonstone. Read on!
Opalite Vs Moonstone
In this guide, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions including:
- Why are moonstone rings more expensive?
- Is opalite and opal the same?
- What is rainbow moonstone?
Let’s delve right in, shall we?
Key Differences between Opalite and Moonstone
- Opalite is usually made of glass while moonstone is natural
- Opalite shines while moonstone glows
- Natural opalite is relatively low-quality opal while natural moonstone is just moonstone
- Opalite stones have no imitations. However, opalite can imitate moonstone
Origin – Opalite Vs Moonstone
Opalite is a manmade stone that’s normally used in jewelry industry. The most common opalite variant is glass. Natural opals are opalite stones in their natural form. Opals are valuable owing to their play of light and are equally real gemstones.
A high-quality opal is known as a precious opal. Authentic opal is also called common opal which typically translates to a lower quality opal material. However, lower quality opal is still opal with no play of color.
Natural opalite has the same chemical composition as opal and are both silicon dioxide minerals. Opals come in many different varieties although you can find opalite and opals at the same place.
Some of the most common types of opals include Australian opals, Ethiopian opals and Mexican opals. However, Australia is a largest producer of precious opal. Always assume that most opalite are made of glass as opposed to gemstones. What you’ll find on the market is usually referred to as opal and not real opalite.
Just like opalites, there are two types of moonstones – manmade moonstone otherwise known as rainbow moonstone and natural moonstone. The latter are made are made of two different stone species – albite and orthoclase.
Albite and orthoclase are feldspar species that are usually arranged in different stacked layers in an authentic moonstone. Rainbow moonstones, on the other hand, aren’t moonstones at all but a labradorite.
A labradorite is one of the most abundant of feldspar minerals around the world. It’s not an actual moonstone but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a gem. You can find the deposits of natural moonstone in India and Sri Lanka. There’s a documentary online that details how Sri Lanka mines moonstones.
There are moonstone varieties that come from a small village in Sri Lanka. You can find rainbow moonstone in Madagascar and India.
Appearance – Opalite Vs Moonstone
Assume opalites are glass and not lower quality opal. Opalite are popular for their healing properties as opposed to being used in jewelry pieces. Opalite is believed to be quite beneficial for clearing the mind and meditation. Plus, it helps remove any energy blockages.
Most opalites on the market is usually cut to smooth cabochons that’s why most people tend to confuse them with moonstones. What’s more, it can be cut to different shapes of cabochons and polished towers and points.
Opalite has a milky glass look with a light bluish glow. It’s translucent and doesn’t flash or change appearance under some lighting. Some opalites have a purple glow.
Imitations and Synthetics
Opalites are usually made by fusing metals and dolomites. You can’t find a synthetic version of opalite since they’re manmade. Most people confuse opalites with other different gemstones like moonstones and opals. However, they come in small bubbles that are usually captured during production.
Don’t go for opal imitations since the stone itself isn’t quite valuable. You should also know that some trade names are misleading. For instance, purple opal refers to opalites that have a purple glow also known as Bertrandite or Tiffany stone.
Purple opal is also known as sea opal or opalescent glass. Remember, opal and opalites are two different stones.
High quality moonstones are cut en cabochon to display their glow – adularescence. Adularescence is the white or blue glow in moonstone cabochons when placed at certain angles under some lighting. In this case, you’ll notice a bright blue flash in the gemstone.
Moonstones can also have a lighter background that can be opaque to semi-transparent. Common moonstones receive gemstones like cuts at a relatively lower price. They lack adularescence and have a whitish background.
Rainbow moonstone, on the other hand, cab be princess cuts, faceted briolettes, rounds, ovals and other different gemstone shapes. As earlier mentioned, rainbow moonstones are not actual moonstones but a different stone species of feldspar minerals.
Moonstones are quite popular especially in the metaphysical realm where you’ll most likely come across rainbow moonstone. Most people believe that moonstones bring hope, peace, balance and creativity to their lives.
Imitations and Synthetics
There is no lab created moonstones but you can find fake imitations all over. A lot of people tend to confuse moonstones with other gemstones like quartz and opal.
One of the main differences between moonstones and opal gems is in the play of light. Moonstones have brighter flashes with rainbow patterns in their play of color. They can also have a dark or light background.
A black opal has a black background with green and orange patterns. You’ll also come across opal moonstone which is a made up gemstone known as moonstone opal or moonstone from Disney’s Tangled.
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Observe the moonstones carefully. If it’s crystal clear or you see bubbles then it’s not a moonstone. It’s also not a moonstone if it doesn’t have any flashes under some lighting.
Price and Value – Opalite Vs Moonstone
Since opalite is a fake stone, it’s relatively cheap and invaluable. A gold opalite set costs up to a maximum of $100 with the gold setting making up a huge percentage of the total cost. The price of a full strand of opalite beads is less than $20. Real opalites, on the other hand, are quite expensive.
Natural moonstones are equally affordable. However, high-quality moonstones with blue flashes and prominent adularescence are more expensive. White moonstones with blue flashes go for $125 per carat while other qualities and colors go for about $1 to $15 per carat. The price range of rainbow moonstones is $5 to $50 per carat.
Opalite and moonstone are best suited for making jewelry but not ideal for everyday wear. Moonstone rates at 6 to 6.5 on Mohs hardness scale while opalite has a 5.5 to 6.5 rating. Moonstone has better scratch resistance than opalite.
However, scratch resistance level of a gemstone is not the only thing to look out for especially when it comes to bridal jewelry. Moonstones have a great cleavage that makes it easy to split when hit on the right spots. Opalite can chip and shatter easily since it’s made of glass.
You’d want to clean and take care of moonstone and opalite jewelry pieces to extend their lifespan.
Congratulations if you’ve made it to this point!
By now, you know the main differences between opalite and moonstone and how the two compare. Here’s a recap.
Both opalite and moonstone are cut en cabochon but moonstones are available in different qualities. They’re not best suited for engagement rings since they’re more susceptible to scratching and breaking. Fortunately, they’re quite affordable save for high-quality natural moonstones.
You might need to replace your opal engagement ring over the years if you choose either of the two gems.