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Are Moonstones Valuable Rocks? The Real Worth of Moonstones

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Putting a value on a moonstone is different from many other colored gems. The 4 C’s, which apply to the realm of jewelry, color, clarity, carat, and cut, apply differently because the real value of a moonstone comes from its unearthly gleam.

Moonstones of gem quality are typically anywhere from $5/carat to $50/carat at the higher end. For an average-size ring or small bracelet, you’re looking at $250 for top quality. The cost varies based on the adularescence displayed. Generally, blue adularescence is the most valuable, typically originating in Sri Lanka or India.

Where a particular moonstone sits in this range depends on many factors. At the end of this article, you’ll know how to consider each factor to estimate how much a specimen should go for.

Are Moonstones Valuable Rocks? The Real Worth of Moonstones
Are Moonstones Valuable Rocks? The Real Worth of Moonstones

If you want to check out the best moonstone rocks or jewelry, you can find them here (Amazon link).

How Much is a Moonstone Worth?

Moonstone’s worth can be described in many ways and can vary by 1000% from the top to the bottom of the spectrum, depending on the quality

Clear, blue moonstones which show high quality, floating-like adularescence from all angles and in all areas of the stone is widely considered the most valuable variety of real moonstone and is worth $50 per carat. 

Rainbow moonstone, or labradorite, a type of transparent plagioclase feldspar (as opposed to real moonstone which is orthoclase feldspar, more on this in the first article of this series) can sometimes fetch a higher price, but not too much.

Chalcedony, sometimes also misclassified as moonstone, is worth much less. Opalite, the man-made moonstone fake, isn’t worth much at all. Always make sure you know the gemstone you’re buying!

Is a Moonstone Valuable?

Cost alone can be a vague identifier of value, especially to someone unfamiliar with the complex workings of the gemstone industry. 

Moonstones sit at the bottom of the cost spectrum for gemstones and are comparably very affordable. Some of this comes from the fact that they are less rare than most gemstones, and some are because they are quite soft and easy to scratch or break.

A moonstone will be, on average, 100 times less expensive than a diamond of the same size and is about the same price as a peridot. 

Though gemstone prices are variable and change with the number of quality specimens sold and fashions that change in the blink of an eye, moonstone can reliably not change too much due to the large number of mines and relative abundance.

TIP: Have you ever heard about Moonrocks? Not moonstones, but Moon rocks. Yes, the astronauts have brought real Moon rocks to Earth in the past. Find out more about moon rocks in the article below:
Moon Rocks: Everything You Need to Know About Them

How Much is Moonstone Worth Per Carat?

Moonstone is worth anywhere from $5 to $50 per carat. It can be less than this, but the line between gemstone quality material is a bit blurry, which sometimes causes some mix-ups on the lower end of the spectrum. Different classifications of moonstones will have different ranges, with types usually classified by how they display moonstones’ adularescence quality.

Below is a chart of typical types of moonstones and their cost ranges. Because of its cost, the rainbow moonstone has been included even though it is not technically a moonstone.

TypeCost per Carat
Moonstone$1.30 – $15
Cat’s Eye Moonstone$3 – $50
Rainbow Moonstone$5 – $60
Star Moonstone$2 – $30
Moonstone Worth per Carat

How to Determine the Value of Moonstone?

Gemstones are typically priced based on their performance in the test of the 4 Cs. Moonstone is no exception, though it does add the 5th property to consider – adularescence. 

Moonstones are first categorized into how they display the quality, adularescence – how light is reflected within the stone. Then color and clarity weight are – typically, the clearer and the bluer, the better because those are the rarest. 

While intense blue is the most valuable, milky white is a close second because of its similarities to the moon’s appearance. Specimens with other colors are usually grouped and have less variance between them. 

Clarity changes in moonstone based on the thickness of the albite layers between the orthoclase layers. Thinner layers will cause a clearer stone, and thicker layers will cause the stone to be more opaque. Again, rarity dictates that the clearer stones be more valuable.

TIP: Moonstone is a quite popular gemstone because of its intriguing blue sheen and modest price. Check out the main differences between real and fake moonstones in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Moonstone: Focus on These 8 Differences

How do You Know if a Moonstone is Valuable?

Sometimes, you want some quick checks to see if a moonstone is valuable so you can compare prices in your head and know when you’re getting a good deal and when you aren’t. 

First, categorize the type of adularescence you see and its evenness. Then, check the origin to see if it comes from a reputable country regarding past moonstone production. Ask if the stone has ever been treated. Lastly, check for small scratches or chips – they are typical with a gemstone of hardness 6-6.5.

Adularescence can present itself in a few different ways, so look at it from several angles of light and in a dark context.

Check its color, whether it originates from the center or from closer to beneath the surface, and its reflection. If the light scatters behind the center in a star or cat’s eye shape, think along with historical values for those types of moonstones.

Reputed countries of moonstone production are Sri Lanka and India. Myanmar used to produce high-quality materials but has stopped doing so in the past years.

If the stone is from one of these 3 countries, you can be confident it has the potential to be at the top of the value range for moonstone.

Some moonstones, like many other colored gemstones, are treated to have more vibrance. The retailer should be up-front about this because it is typical in the industry. Just be aware that, for two stones that look similar, the untreated stone will be more valuable, sometimes by 2-4 times.

TIP: Moonstone is a popular type of stone for décor and jewelry pieces, and you can tumble it with other rocks of the same hardness. Find out more in the article below:
Can You Tumble Moonstone? Try These 4 Simple Steps

What is the Best Quality Moonstone?

In general, the most valuable moonstones are clear, with vibrant blue adularescence emitting from close to the edge of the stone.

The most valuable moonstone to date was found in Mount Kilimanjaro, between Tanzania and Kenya, and is 450 carats. 

That is about half of a pomegranate in weight and a bit smaller than a tennis ball. This moonstone is less clear than it sometimes is, with a blue glow emulating from the middle. It is shaped a bit like an egg and looks truly surreal.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):


Now you’re ready to evaluate the value of any moonstone you’re presented with! If you haven’t read more about the properties and forming process in the first article or where and how to find it in the second.

TIP: You already know how valuable the moonstones can be, but do you know where to find them or how they are formed? I wrote more articles about moonstones for you. You can read them below:
How and Where to Find Moonstone? The Ultimate Guide
What Is Moonstone And How Is It Formed? Here Is the Answer