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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 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 most valuable, typically with origins of 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 take each factor into consideration to get a good estimate of how much a specimen should go for.
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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.
Moonstone will be on average 100 times less expensive than a diamond of the same size and is about the same price as peridot.
Though gemstone prices are variable and change with the amount of quality specimen sold and fashions which change in the blink of an eye, moonstone can reliably not change too much due to a large number of mines and relative abundance of it.
TIP: Did you ever hear about Moonrocks? Not moonstones but Moon rocks. Yes, the astronauts have brought real Moon rocks to Earth in the past. Find out everything about these unique and amazing rocks in the article below:
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 so that causes some mix-ups on the lower end of the spectrum sometimes. Different classifications of moonstone will have different ranges, with types usually classified by how they display moonstone’s adularescence quality.
Below is a chart of typical types of moonstone and their cost ranges. Because of its cost, rainbow moonstone has been included even though it is not technically moonstone.
|Type||Cost per Carat|
|Moonstone||$1.30 – $15|
|Cat’s Eye Moonstone||$3 – $50|
|Rainbow Moonstone||$5 – $60|
|Star Moonstone||$2 – $30|
How to Determine the Value of Moonstone?
Gemstones are typically priced based on their performance in the test of the 4 c’s. 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 is – 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 appearance of the moon itself. Specimen with other colors are usually grouped together 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: It is always good to know how to determine the value of rock or mineral you just found. Find out the 6 most common signs that determine the value of rocks in the article below:
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 be found to date was found in Mount Kilimanjaro, between Tanzania and Kenya, and is 450 carats.
That is about half of pomegranate of weight and a bit smaller than a tennis ball. This moonstone is less clear than they sometimes are, 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):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
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 in terms of 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.
The adularescence can present itself in a few different ways, so be sure to look at it from several angles of light and also 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 moonstone.
Reputed countries of moonstone production are Sri Lanka and India. Myanmar used to produce high-quality material 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.
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 of this series, or about 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: