By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk

Andesine Labradorite Gemstone Information

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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 viewing 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 it was originally traded without proper disclosure of color-enhancements. The gemstone's origin was also very mysterious when it was first introduced to the public. The gem was first traded under the name 'andesine', where it was first discovered in South America's Andes Mountains. After its introduction to the international gem market, it was later determined that 'andesine' was not actually 'andesine' at all. Instead, it was determined to be a color-enhanced variety of labradorite. After the discovery of andesine'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 to '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 term of 'red feldspar'.

Identifying Andesine Labradorite

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Andesine-labradorite has a chemical makeup that is a mix of labradorite and andesine (albite and anorthite). Although both andesine and labradorite have similar chemical compositions, they are very differently defined. Identifying andesine-labradorite requires testing to confirm composition ratio. Andesine-labradorite can usually be distinguished from other gemstones that have similar features by a faint iridescent effect resulting in a slightly metallic luster. Andesine-labradorite does not possess glittery, metallic sparkly inclusions like sunstone, but instead, it typically contains 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 a dull, dark and smoky gray, whereas andesine-labradorite is more reddish and orangey in color.

Andesine Labradorite Origin and Gemstone Sources

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Andesine-labradorite's origin is uncertain and remains quite controversial. In the early 2000s, it was believed that andesine-labradorite was first discovered in the Congo and then it was later thought to be China, Mongolia, Tibet and then Southern India. The silicate mineral of andesine was actually 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

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Andesine Labradorite Color

Andesine-labradorite is most often reddish with traces of green and yellow. Colors range from red to honey-red, from yellowish to orange and from amber to champagne or green. Andesine-labradorite also has a metallic schiller when viewed from different angles. The iridescent schiller is comparable to labradorite. Through lattice diffusion, yellowish labradorite is altered into reddish andesine-labradorite.

Andesine Labradorite Clarity and Luster

Andesine-labradorite has a vitreous to dull luster. It commonly occurs with visible inclusions, which are acceptable, but the inclusions are not like those of glittery sunstone. Andesine-labradorite inclusions are typically rutile needles. Andesine-labradorite has a faint labradorescence, which gives it a metallic schiller or luster. Most andesine-labradorite stones are transparent to translucent, but heavily-included, opaque specimens do exist.

Andesine Labradorite Cut and Shape

Andesine-labradorite is found in various shapes and cuts. It is most often faceted, rather than cut en cabochon. Unenhanced labradorite is almost always cut en cabochon. The enhancement allows the stone to exhibit better transparency and color which is highlighted through facet cutting. Most andesine-labradorite stones are cut in oval shapes. Since they are a lesser-known gemstone, fancy shapes, such as marquise, cushions, trillions, pears and baguettes are hard to find because of limited demand.

Andesine Labradorite Treatment

Through the process of lattice diffusion, copper-bearing agents enhance labradorite colors from a dull gray to a reddish hue. Labradorite is a natural gemstone, but it is through color-enhancing treatment that labradorite becomes andesine-labradorite. Many stones are claimed to be 'heated' only, and there are claims of untreated specimens, but to this day, no confirmed reports of untreated andesine-labradorite exist. As a precaution, all of our andesine-labradorite gemstones are described as 'diffused', reinforcing our guarantee of open disclosure of any enhancements made to our gemstones for sale.

Andesine Labradorite Gemological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: (Na,Ca) [(Al,Si)2Si2O8]
Crystal Structure: Triclinic
Color: Red, green, white, gray, yellowish and light-pink.
Hardness: 6 - 6.5 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.543 - 1.551
Density: 2.65 - 2.69
Cleavage: Perfect
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Double Refraction / Birefringence: 0.008
Luster: Vitreous to dull
Color of Streak: White

Andesine Labradorite Varieties or Similar Gemstones:

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Andesine-labradorite belongs to the feldspar group of minerals, which is Earth's most abundant mineral group. Feldspars make up nearly 60% of the Earth's crust and are distinguished by the presence of aluminum and silica ions, including aluminum silicates; sodium oxide, potassium oxide and calcium oxide.

The two main feldspar branches are plagioclase feldspar (labradorite and sunstone) and potassium feldspar, which includes orthoclase and microcline. Plagioclase gemstones all have similar hardness scores 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% albite. Since these two materials vary in ratio, it is easy to see why andesine-labradorite can be so confusing. Plagioclase feldspars have a similar appearance and they can often be categorized as both andesine and labradorite.

There are a few gemstones that appear similar to andesine-labradorite, but andesine-labradorite can be distinguished through simple observations. Andesine-labradorite is sometimes intentionally traded as 'Oregon sunstone', because sunstone typically has a higher price-per-carat value. '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'.

Most Popular Related Gemstones:

Moonstone, rainbow moonstone, labradorite, sunstone and Oregon sunstone are the most popular related gemstone varieties.

Lesser Known Related Gemstones:

Orthoclase is a common feldspar material, but it is rarely found in gemstone-quality. Spectrolite is very rare variety of labradorite. Spinel and rubellite tourmaline have similar colors, but both are quite rare compared to other red gems available today. Blue-rainbow moonstone, labradorite-moonstone and blue-sheen labradorite are lesser-known trade names for related gemstone varieties.

Andesine Labradorite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Healing Powers

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Andesine-labradorite is a relatively new gemstone, 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 2000s, so there are no ancient myths in existence.

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 to one's thoughts. It is considered a grounding stone and can help with deep meditation. Labradorite is believed to strengthen the immune system and ease pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed practitioner. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements made and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Andesine Labradorite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas

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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, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, tie-tacks or cuff-links. Andesine-labradorite hardness ranges from 6 to 6.5, so it is considered a relatively soft 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 as a result of the controversy that shrouded the stone's origin, but mostly likely because it is an affordable alternative to 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.

Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.

Andesine Labradorite Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning

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Andesine-labradorite is a relatively soft stone. Since ordinary dust often contains traces of quartz (with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale), simply wiping off dust can result in reduced polish and surface scratches, marring andesine-labradorite's desirable luster. Do not wear andesine-labradorite stones whilst participating in vigorous physical activities, such as sports and exercise, and always take off jewelry before engaging in household chores. Warm water and a soft cloth can be used to clean andesine-labradorite gemstones and if needed, a mild soap can be used. Be sure to rinse gemstones 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 gemstones, store them separately from one another. Harder gems, especially diamonds, rubies 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.

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