Professional Jeweler Archive: Full-Moon Fever

April 2004

Gemstones & Pearls/New Products


Full-Moon Fever

Moonstone casts a magical, bewitching spell


The popularity of cabochon-CUT gems has made moonstone a favorite again. Wonderfully soft in color, moonstone is a perfect choice for women who shy away from bright or vivid gems. “Sometimes colored gemstones are too strong and women want or need a softer color. This is where moonstone comes in,” says Henry Dunay, designer/owner of Henry Dunay, New York City. “It’s magical against any complexion.”

Gemologically, moonstone is two feldspars – orthoclase and albite – mingled in a single crystal. The alternating thin layers of feldspar scatter light, producing adularescence, the moonlight effect that gives this gem its name. Usually cabochon-cut to accentuate this effect, the finest moonstones are semitransparent and flawless with a strong blue adularescence. However, moonstones also come in green, cloudy green, black, peach, orange, a golden or brown honey and white. Because of the wide color variety, it’s easy to mix moonstones with other gemstones. “Moonstones can be paired harmoniously with garnet and tourmaline because of the rainbow of colors they come in,” says Dunay. “They also come in various hues, which makes them easy to match, and diamonds add richness.

“Moonstone colors have to be paired correctly with metal. White and powder blue moonstones look best in platinum, and all the others are wonderful in 18k gold.”

When displaying moonstone jewelry, light it to play up the color and adularescence.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

point of $ALE

Joseph Montanari, owner of Montanari Fine Art Jewelers, Kansas City, MO, offers these selling tips:

Talk about origin. Sri Lanka is the source of the finest moonstones, while fine commercial grades come from Myanmar and India.

Stress that moonstone is real and pure, not dyed or treated.

The color will never change.

It’s a big look at a reasonable price. Because cabochon is the cut of choice, moonstone comes in larger sizes, but the price is relatively inexpensive.

Mention casual wear. The cut keeps it casual so it’s good for everyday wear.

Explain how to care for it. Moonstone is sturdy and won’t break, but it can scuff. Advise your customers to be sensible when wearing it. For example, they shouldn’t garden while wearing a moonstone ring. To keep it clean, just wipe it off with a wet cloth or soap and water.

Always disclose enhancements. Sometimes moonstone will be backed in black to help its color pop. If your moonstone jewelry has this feature, make sure the customer knows it before buying.


18k gold suite features honey-colored moonstones and lavender sapphires. Suggested retail, $873-$4,125.

Breuning, Lawrenceville, GA; (678) 377-1673, fax (678) 377-1674.

18k white gold pendant features black enamel surrounding a 5.80-ct. orange moonstone cabochon and 0.12 carat of H/VSI diamond accents. Suggested retail, $2,450.

Fabergé, Workmaster Victor Mayer, Dallas, TX; (972) 713-9927, www.fabergefinejewelry.com, US-office@victor-mayer.com.

Jewelry suite is sterling silver, 14k gold and moonstone.

Dobbs Boston, Gloucester, MA; (800) 23-DOBBS.

14k gold pendant and earrings feature blue cabochon moonstone and diamond accents. Suggested retail, $219-$419.

The Touch, Waltham, MA; (800) 556-0041 or (781) 894-8133, fax (781) 894-7821.

14k gold ring features a 5.30-ct. cabochon moonstone. Retail, $345.

Nancy B & Co., Culver City, CA; (800) 421-0464, fax (310) 836-2409.

Spearmint green moonstone shimmers in 18k gold Sabi-finished jewelry.

Henry Dunay, New York City; (800) 888-2525 or (212) 768-9700, fax (212) 944-0308.

This 16-inch strand of cultured pearls features 19.57 carats of moonstones set in 18k gold and 10 South Sea cultured pearls. Suggested retail, $12,400.

Assael International Inc., New York City; (212) 819-0060, fax (212) 764-1965.

18k gold and platinum brooch features a 27.94-ct. oval moonstone, 2.93-ct. of round diamonds and a 0.04-ct. cabochon emerald. Suggested retail, $26,000.

Oscar Heyman & Bros. Inc., New York City; (212) 593-0400, fax (212) 759-8612.

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