Andesine Labradorite Gemstone Information
About Andesine-Labradorite - History and Introduction
Andesine-Labradorite first appeared in 2003, which makes it a relatively new gemstone. It is typically found in reddish orange colors, along with traces of green and yellow. What makes it different than most other gemstones is its faint metallic schiller or luster known as labradorescence. Iridescence allows Andesine-Labradorite to exhibit various ranges of color depending on the viewed angle. It is still relatively unknown to most people, and for quite some time, there was a shroud of controversy that surrounded the stone's origins.
The problem with Andesine-Labradorite, is that they were originally traded without proper disclosing of color-enhancements. The gemstone's origin was also very mysterious when it was first introduced to the public. Andesine was first discovered in South America's Andes Mountains, which is where the name 'andesine' was derived. Labradorite was first discovered in Labrador, Canada, which explains Labradorite's nomenclature origin. However, it was later determined that Andesine-Labradorite was not actually 'andesine'. Instead, it turned out to be color-enhanced 'Labradorite'. Though Andesine and Labradorite have very similar chemical compositions, they are differently defined. After the 're-discovery' of Andesine-Labradorite's chemical composition and origin, the original name 'Andesine' was thought to be very misleading. In order to partially correct the problem, 'Andesine' was later hyphenated as 'Andesine-Labradorite'. The trade name was widely accepted, but it is often referred to as just 'Andesine', as well as 'Red Labradorite', 'Congo Sunstone' and by its general classification of 'Red Feldspar'.
Andesine-Labradorite Feldspar Group
The two main Feldspar branches are Plagioclase Feldspar and Potassium Feldspar, which includes Orthoclase and Microcline. Plagioclase gemstones all have similar hardness and relatively high refractive indices, ranging between Beryl and Quartz. All are mixtures of Albite and Anorthite. Andesine is 50-70% Albite (a sodium aluminum silicate) and 30-50% Anorthite (a calcium aluminum silicate), while Labradorite is 50-70% Anorthite and 30-50% Alibite. Since these two materials vary only in ratio, it is easy to see why Andesine-Labradorite was so confusing. Plagioclase feldspars have similar appearances and they can often be categorized as both Andesine and Labradorite.
Identifying Andesine Labradorite Back to Top
Andesine-Labradorite has a chemical makeup that mixes Labradorite and Andesine (albite and anorthite). Identifying Andesine-Labradorite requires testing to confirm composition ratio. Andesine-Labradorite can usually be distinguished from other gemstones that bear similar resemblance, because it has a faint iridescent effect resulting in a slightly metallic luster. Andesine-Labradorite does not possess glittery, metallic sparkly inclusions like Sunstone, but instead, they typically contain needle-like rutile inclusions. Unlike most imitations, metallic colors are visible only through luster. Andesine-Labradorite is easily distinguished from Labradorite, by its brighter colors. Natural Labradorite is usually dull, dark and smoky gray, whereas Andesine-Labradorite is more reddish and orangey in color.
Andesine Labradorite Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Andesine-Labradorite's origin is uncertain and remains quite controversial. In the early 2000's, sources believed Andesine-Labradorite was first discovered in the Congo and then later it was thought to be China, Mongolia, Tibet and then southern India. The silicate mineral of Andesine was discovered in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains and Labradorite, also a silicate, was first discovered in Labrador, Canada. Since Andesine-Labradorite has a chemical composition similar to both, its origins would be Canada and South America's Andes Mountains. However, the actual location where Labradorite was first diffused to create Andesine-Labradorite, is yet to be determined.
Buying Andesine Labradorite and Determining Andesine Labradorite Gemstone Value Back to Top
Andesine Labradorite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Andesine Labradorite Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Andesine-Labradorite belongs to the largest group of minerals -- Feldspar. There are numerous varieties of feldspar gemstones, but there are only two main Feldspar branches, including Potassium Feldspar (Orthoclase and Microcline) and Plagioclase Feldspar, which includes Labradorite and Sunstone.
There are a few gemstones that bear similar resemblance to Andesine-Labradorite, but Andesine-Labradorite can be distinguished through simple observations. Andesine-Labradorite is sometimes intentionally traded as 'Oregon Sunstone', because Sunstone is typically more valuable price-per-carat. 'Rainbow Moonstone' is a variety of Labradorite that goes by many trade names, such as 'blue-rainbow moonstone', 'labradorite-moonstone' and 'blue-sheen labradorite'; but all of these refer to a gem closely related to Andesine-Labradorite and not actually 'moonstone'.
Andesine Labradorite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
Andesine-Labradorite is a relatively new gemstone and because so, there is very little lore surrounding the stone. Andesine-Labradorite is not assigned to any planets, nor does it represent any of the zodiac signs. It was only discovered in the early 2000's, so there are no ancient myths that exist either.
However, since it is closely related to Labradorite, Sunstone and Andesine, it is thought to carry the powers of these three crystals combined. For crystal healing practitioners, it is associated with the Heart Chakra and it is most powerful when placed above the heart or held in one's palm. Physically, Andesine is thought to be able to cure eye and brain diseases. It is also believed that it can ease stress and balance metabolism. Labradorite is able to dispel negativity and provide clarity in one's thoughts. It is considered a grounding stone and can help with deep meditation. Labradorite is believed to strengthen immune systems and ease pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis.
Andesine Labradorite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Andesine is most often faceted into oval gemstones, but many fancy shapes, such as trillion, cushion, heart and marquise are used in jewelry. They are durable enough for most forms of gemstone jewelry, but they are recommended mostly for use as earrings, pendants, pins, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, tie-tacks or cuff-links. Andesine-Labradorite hardness ranges from 6 to 6.5, so it is considered a softer stone. Softer stones are not ideal for rings, but Andesine-Labradorite is harder than opal and equally as hard as Tanzanite, both of which are commonly used in gemstone rings.
Andesine-Labradorite has become very popular, perhaps a result from the large amount of controversy that shrouded the stone's origin, but mostly likely because it is an affordable alternative for expensive red gems, like ruby and spinel. Andesine-Labradorite is prone to cracks and fractures, which can result from excessive pressure, so care should be taken when setting the stone into jewelry settings.
Caring for your Andesine Labradorite Gemstones and Gemstone Jewelry Back to Top
Andesine-Labradorite is a relatively soft stone. Since ordinary dust often contains traces of quartz (hardness of 7 on Mohs scale), simply wiping off dust can result in reduced polish and surface scratches, marring Andesine-Labradorite desirable luster. Do not wear Andesine-Labradorite stones while participating in physical activities, such as sports or exercise, and always take off jewelry before engaging in household chores. You can use warm water and a soft cloth to clean your gemstone and if needed, you can use a mild soap. Be sure to rinse the gemstone well to remove soapy residue. As with almost all gemstones, avoid any ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaners. Heating can permanently alter or damage Andesine-Labradorite color. When storing Andesine-Labradorite and other types of gemstone jewelry, store them separately from one another. Harder gems, especially diamonds, ruby and sapphires, can easily scratch Andesine-Labradorite, so it is recommended to always wrap them in a soft cloth or place them in a fabric-lined box.
- First Published: July-16-2013
- Last Updated: February-13-2014
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