Moonstone or Opal: Which Gem is Your Soul Mate?

Opal vs Moonstone

If you're a Selenophile (moon lover), chances are you're drawn to gemstones with a lunar touch, like moonstone, pearl, and opal.

Though pearl stands as a distinct gem, the decision between moonstone and opal often sparks a dilemma. In this blog, we'll shed light on their unique qualities, making your choice as easy as a moonlit stroll.

Let's understand them in detail…

Key Differences Between Opal and Moonstone

Though as different as chalk and cheese in composition, availability, and value, these two gemstones share a stage in the visual splendor and decorative charm. 

With their similar elegant appearances, it's easy to get confused. That's why understanding the differences is crucial.

1. Chemical Composition:

Opals are formed from tiny silica spheres when silica-rich water enters the earth's crust voids, making them hydrated amorphous forms of silica classified as mineraloids. On the other hand, moonstones are composed of silicate minerals, often with an orthoclase and albite background, and are not considered mineraloids.

2. Colour:

Opals can vary in opacity, ranging from opaque to transparent or translucent. They typically have a background shade of black or white but can display any colour from the visual spectrum. In contrast, moonstones come in a range of colours, including white, green, yellow, brown, grey, and almost black, often with an iridescent blue or white sheen.

3. Major Mines:

Opals are primarily sourced from Australia (95-97%), with other notable locations including Mexico, Ethiopia, Slovakia, Turkey, Hungary, Nevada, and Brazil. Moonstones are found in various locations such as India, Madagascar, Brazil, and Australia, but the highest quality stones are believed to come from Sri Lanka.

4. Treatment:

Opals undergo treatments such as sugar treatment to enhance play-of-colour and the smoke method to darken the surface. In contrast, moonstones typically do not undergo artificial enhancements, although surface coatings may occasionally be applied to improve appearance.

5. Toughness:

Opals have a Mohs hardness rating of 5.5 - 6.5, making them relatively delicate and susceptible to scratches and breakage. Moonstones have a similar hardness rating of 6 - 6.5 but are also vulnerable to breakage due to their double cleavage.

6. Rarity:

While opals in white, grey, and green tones are common, black and red opals are exceptionally rare. Moonstones are more readily available in smaller sizes, but larger stones are scarce.

7. Unique Colour-play: 

Opals are valued for their unique play-of-colour, with each stone exhibiting a distinct appearance due to its chemical composition called opalescence. Moonstones are prized for their adularescence, a phenomenon where a white, silver, or blue glow appears on the surface of the stone.

8. Cutting and Shapes:

Moonstones are cut into various shapes to suit aesthetic preferences and symbolize personal qualities. In contrast, opals are predominantly cut into cabochon or freeform shapes to showcase their captivating optical effects.

Which One Should You Buy?

Buy Moonstone if: 

  1. You're on a budget: Moonstone tends to be more affordable compared to opal. For example, if a 0.74 CT moonstone ring price is around 24k then an opal ring would cost you around 85k in the same carat weight. 
  1. You're seeking everyday wear: Opals contain about 25% water by weight, making them more prone to cracking and requiring extra care to maintain their color, whereas moonstones are low maintenance.
  1. You're seeking emotional healing and stress relief: Moonstone is renowned for its calming effects, stress relief, and intuition enhancement.

Opt for Opal if:

  1. You're looking for a valuable investment or heirloom: Opal tends to hold higher value and can be a better investment option compared to moonstone.
  1. You desire luxury and eye-catching beauty: Opal's stunning fiery flashes of color and iridescence make it a visually captivating choice for those seeking something truly luxurious.
  1. You're drawn to rarity: Opals are exceptionally unique gemstones, with no two opals looking exactly alike. Each opal is as distinct as a fingerprint or a snowflake, adding to its allure as a rare and one-of-a-kind gem.

Ultimately it’s really up to you.

If you're looking for a gem that’s instantly recognizable, go for an opal necklace, and pair them with opal earrings. On the other hand, if you want a jewel infused with subtle sophistication and mystery, then moonstone is the one for you.

To Wrap Up 

Moonstone boasts a special glow called adularescence, giving it a serene, moon-like shimmer under the surface. While not as famous as opal, it's gaining popularity for its understated elegance. If you're after something unique, moonstone is the way to go. But for instant recognition, you can't beat opal jewellery.

At Angara, ethereal opals and mystical moonstones jewellery await you. Choose from a stunning collection of Opal and moonstone rings, earrings, pendant necklaces in designs that are timeless and charming. Personalise your selection by choosing the metal, gemstone quality, and carat weight that speak to you.

Ready to own a slice of the moon? Explore our website the own it with pride! 

FAQ

1. Where can I purchase high-quality Opal or Moonstone jewellery?
Find exquisite high-quality Opal and Moonstone jewellery at Angara, boasting a wide range of rings, earrings, pendants, and more. Shop confidently, knowing each piece is handcrafted to perfection for superior quality and beauty.

2. Which gemstone is better for jewellery?
The choice between Opal and Moonstone jewelry ultimately depends on personal preference and desired aesthetic. Opals showcase a unique play-of-color, while Moonstones exude a mystical adularescence. At Angara, explore our extensive selection of both gemstones to find the perfect piece that reflects your style and personality.

3. Are there any famous examples of Opal or Moonstone in history or pop culture?
Opals and moonstones have enchanted cultures for centuries, inspiring myths, literature, and jewelry with their captivating allure. Greeks believed Opals were formed from Zeus' tears of joy, while Queen Victoria's fondness for Opals popularised the gemstone in the Victorian era. Moonstones, revered for their mystical qualities, have been adorned by many throughout history for their magical allure. From Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" to modern-day jewellery trends, Opals and moonstones continue to captivate with their enchanting beauty and rich cultural significance.

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