The fascinating semi-precious gem called moonstone gets its name from its play of light or sheen, caused by feldspar layers in the stone. It’s a special effect known as 'adularescence' which causes it to shimmer when the stone is moved.

Circa 1900 Moonstone and Diamond Pendant

The use of moonstones in jewelry dates back to ancient civilizations. The Romans believed it was created from solidified rays of the moon, and both the Romans and Greeks associated moonstone with their lunar deities. In India, it is regarded as a holy, magical gemstone and is also regarded as 'dream stones' which bring the wearer beautiful visions at night. Women in Arabic countries often wear moonstones sewn inside their garments as a symbol of fertility.

Extremely popular during the Art Nouveau period, French master goldsmith René Lalique and his contemporaries used moonstones extensively in their jewelry. In more recent times, the moonstone became the official Florida gemstone to commemorate the moon landings, which launched from Kennedy Space Center.

Moonstones are always cut as cabochons, meaning the stone is rounded and does not have facets which helps highlight the shimmer of the stone. Sometimes the jewel is carved with decorative cameos and man-in-the-moon designs. These sensual stones can be found in many beautiful pieces of jewelry in the Lang Antiques collection.