Richmond Crystal

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The gemstone that is found on the Labrador Peninsula; Labradorite

Labradorite as we know it today was described by missionaries from the Moravian church on Paul Island late eighteen hundred near the settlement of Nain; the northern most town of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Although the description was done by missionaries, the discovering of labradorite was most likely done by the native Eskimo Inuit. The Labrador Peninsula was named after the Portuguese explorer João Fernandes Lavrador that visited this area late fifteen hundred.

Nain was founded by a Moravian mission in 1771. The Moravian church has been derived from the eponymous province Moravia in the Czech Republic.  It is a Protestant denomination that fled Moravia in 1722 to escape persecution. It were also the Moravian missionaries that brought Labradorite stones to Europe. They sent labradorite stones to their London based mission secretary.

Under a special act approved by British parliament in 1749, the Moravians were accepted and recognized as a religion. This act was the start of Moravian missions in the New World. The minister for colonies at that time invited the Moravians to Nova Scotia, the largest British naval base in Canada.

A variant of Labradorite is also found in Finland, called spectrolite. This spectrolite was coincidently discovered at the beginning of the Russian-Finnish war in 1940, also known as the winter war. The Finnish armed forces  needed stones and rocks to make a line of defence against Russian tanks, so they quarried a lot of stones out of the southern part of the country by using explosives. They discovered a blue shiny shimmer from the stones that they had blew up. An interesting detail is that the areas in South Finland were the spectrolite was found is located not far from the circle of latitude as Nain and Paul Island were the Labradorite was found.

The dissimilarity between labradorite and spectrolite is caused by the intensity of the shimmer and the range of the colors visible. It is said that labradorite has a softer tone of colors than spectrolite.

Nowadays a lot of labradorite is originating from Madagascar mining activities. 

Looking for Labradorite gemstones or pendants?

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