All about Labradorite

November 22, 2015 0 Comments

Labradorite is a low key gray stone with a big surprise. When cut correctly for proper angle, high quality material displays a bright flash of color(s). Colors from the blue and yellow-orange portions of the visible light spectrum jump forth from the darker base stone. Only a small percentage of all of the labradorite mined is of high enough quality for our body jewelry - most is considered b-grade with little or no flash.

What is Labradorite?

Labradorite is a feldspar with a hardness of approximately 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, and it originates from Labrador, Canada as well as Madagascar and a few other locations around the world. It occurs most frequently as light to dark gray or gray-green in rough form with large crystalline planes and seams throughout. In high quality material the crystalline structure is such that at the right angle, it refracts a large spectrum of colors from various layers within the material.

Rough labradorite material at the ideal light angle for color flash. This color does not exist in the stone, it is a light-dependent color sheen. The same rough is shown below from a different angle, with minimal to no flash present.

Below, a close-up of labradorite's light play on rough stone.

Where does Labradorite come from?

Labradorite was first discovered in the late 1700's in Labrador, Canada. Since then, deposits have been noted in Finland, Russia, Australia, Mexico, United States and Madagascar. It is said that according to Eskimo Indian legend, the northern lights were freed from Labradorite.

The colors in Labradorite

The colors in Labradorite are not actually present in stone, rather they are the result of light play within the stone. Labradorite is a feldspar with a crystalline structure that forms very thin compacted layers. When light hits the surface of the stone, it travels down through the layers, which reflect, refract and diffuse the white light, absorbing some colors and reflecting others which we see as the flash on the surface of the stone.

We have had material with flash ranging in color from white (essentially clear with flash) through light yellow, orange and copper, fuchsia and purple, light aqua to dark aqua, light blue, dark blue and near blue-black. Specimens may contain one solid color, two colors, a color shift (both within the same spectrum such as aqua to dark blue, or even opposite spectrums such as from aqua to yellow), or multiple colors across the same cut face of stone. In our experience, the rarest colors are the fuchsia and purples as well as some transitional shades of pink-copper, and very light blue to true white flash. We do have some examples of these that we keep as display specimens in our showroom in Richmond, Virginia.

The labradoresence or schiller effect, as the flash is known, can be solid bright color, subdued “faded” flash color, flash only at certain angles, or create a “blinds” effect where lines of schiller flash on and off as the piece is moved. This “blinds” effect is uncommon, but particularly interesting because of the movement created within the piece as it ‘flutters.’ The flash effect always looks best in direct to diffused natural daylight, artificial light is not appropriate for viewing the true color and intensity of labradorite.

Very high quality material with vibrant true blue and copper. Flash of this quality from side to side within a stone is fairly rare.

Beautiful and unusual layered patterning with different colors.

Very uncommon pale peach and lavender coloration

True purple flash in labradorite is very rare.

Beautiful blue fade with 'shutter' effect. At different angles, what shows as blue now fades and the darker lines flash blue.

Lots of beautiful blues!

Working Labradorite into body jewelry

Making body jewelry from labradorite can be tricky due to the amount of time it takes to go from a large rough chunk of stone to a usable slab form cut in the correct manner for maximized flash across the face. Onetribe’s labradorite body jewelry consists of pieces cut for maximum flash on a case by case basis, and a great deal of time is put into selecting the best material for each project based on the needed size, color and shape. We aim for 85% or more solid flash across the faces of anything we create from this stone, and generally (not always but as frequently as possible) pieces will flash straight on when rotated to the correct viewing angle, allowing them to flash easily while being worn. Each piece of labradorite is 100% unique and we cannot guarantee color or pattern matches from project to project, especially when booking custom projects with past labradorite photos as references. We do not create concaves or tunnels from this material as it cuts through the flash, reducing or potentially eliminating any color that would otherwise be evident.




Also in Content

Dendrite Smokeware

April 14, 2020 0 Comments

Read More

COVID-19 Business Update

March 17, 2020 0 Comments

Read More

New Porcelain Plugs

November 25, 2019 0 Comments

I genuinely enjoy working beautifully colored rare materials like chrysoprase, sugilite, and lapis lazuli. Still, there's something to be said for the idea of affordability and accessibility to color, and ceramic is the ideal material for that conversation.

Read More

Sizing Chart
Size chart includes the sizes we make, and default flare size & wearing lengths.
We are happy to make pieces in odd sizes or with custom flares or wearing lengths.
Jewelry Size Flare Size Wearing Length
1.0mm (18g) 1-1.5mm 9mm
1.3mm (16g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
1.5mm (14g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
2.0mm (12g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
2.5mm (10g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
3.0mm (8g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
4.0mm (6g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
5.0mm (4g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
6.0mm
1-1.5mm
9mm
6.5mm (2g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
7.0mm (1g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
8.0mm (0g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
9.0mm (00g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
10mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
11mm (7/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
12mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
13mm (1/2")
1-1.5mm
10mm
14mm (9/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
15mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
16mm (5/8")
1-1.5mm
10mm
17mm (11/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
18mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
19mm (3/4")
1-1.5mm
11mm
20mm (13/16")
1-1.5mm
11mm
21mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
22mm (7/8")
1-1.5mm
11mm
23mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
24mm (15/16")
1-1.5mm
11mm
25mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
26mm (1")
1-1.5mm
11mm
27mm (1 1/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
28mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
29mm (1 1/8")
1-1.5mm
12mm
30mm (1 3/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
31mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
32mm (1 1/4")
1-1.5mm
12mm
33mm (1 5/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
34mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
35mm (1 3/8") 
1-1.5mm
12mm
36mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
37mm (1 7/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
38mm (1 1/2") 1.5-2mm 13mm
39mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
40mm (1 9/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
41mm (1 5/8")
1.5-2mm
13mm
42mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
43mm (1 11/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
44mm (1 3/4")
1.5-2mm
13mm
45mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
46mm (1 13/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
47mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
48mm (1 7/8")
1.5-2mm
13mm
49mm (1 15/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
50mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
51mm (2")
1.5-2mm
13mm

Wearing length is the area of the jewelry that fits inside your piercing. 

Overall length (sometimes confused with wearing length) is the total measurement of the jewelry from face to face, including any additional flare or face area.

Diagram of jewelry styles with wearing length marked in green and overall length marked in red.

1. Flat face double flared plug. Wearing length is measured from the inside of the flare edges. Overall length is measured from face to face.

2. Convex face double flared plug. Wearing length is measured from the inside of the flare edges. Overal length is measured from face to face.

3. Flat face double flared plug with flat flares. Wearing length is measured from inside the flare edges (the piercing cannot rest on the flat flare areas). Overall length is measured face to face.

4. Trumpet flare style plug. The dotted line denotes where the wearing surface ends on the front, because the larger portion of the slope cannot fit inside the piercing. Wearing surface is measured from inside the rear flare edge to the area on the front flare with the same diameter measurement. Overall length is measured from face to face.

5. Sloped single flare plug. Wearing length is measured from where the slope of the flare ends to the end of the plug. Overall length is measured from face to face.

6. Top-hat style single flare with convex face. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the end of the plug. Overall length is measured from face to face.

7. Top-hat style single flare with curved rear. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the beginning of the curve (the piercing cannot rest on the slope). Overall length is measured from face to face.

8. Top-hat style single flare with groove for an o-ring. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the groove (the piercing cannot rest on the groove). Overall length is measured from face to face.

9. Labret (round or oval) with a standard concave t-back. Wearing length is measured from where the wearing shaft meets the wing to the end of the flat portion (the piercing cannot rest on the slope).

Overall length is always longer than the wearing surface because it includes other sections of the jewelry that do not rest inside the piercing. If you are ordering a piece of jewerly and you specify an overall length instead of a wearing length, your jewelry will not fit properly. Order using "overall length" at your own risk. Knowing your ideal wearing length, which can change as you stretch your piercings, ensures you're able to order jewelry that will fit well from every vendor, every time.