A List Of Gemstones With Unique Color Change Properties

A List of Gemstones with Unique Color Change Properties

While precious gemstones reign high for their durability and rarity, some other precious and semi-precious gemstones exhibit certain phenomena related to color which makes them stand out and look unique when set in fine jewelry. So what are these properties that make them so beautiful? In this blog we will share with you a list of gemstones and their unique color changing properties that have won the hearts of people all over the globe.

Color Changing Properties in Gemstones 

Color change properties include but are not limited to a shift in the color of gemstones depending on the kind of light they interact with, a phenomena known as adularescence and labradorescence. These usually fall under the category of optical properties of a gemstone that makes them iridescent or displaying more than one or a spectrum of colors at one time. 


Moonstone Earrings
Pictured above is a pair of Moonstone earrings from our earrings collection featuring a total of 51.78 carats of Moonstones.

Moonstones are a semi-precious gemstone that belongs to the Feldspar group of minerals. Feldspar is a relatively vast mineral group that makes up around 50% of the earth’s crust. Other varieties of Feldspar that are well known include Labradorite and Spectrolite, Sunstone and Amazonite. While each of these varieties of Feldspar has properties unique to them, Moonstone displays a phenomena specific to it, known as adularescence. 

Adularescence is a kind of iridescence that is metallic in nature as light is reflected between layer upon layer of minerals, primarily the mineral known as adularia from which it derives its name. When light breaks through these layers it creates the bluish glow from within that is characteristic of Moonstones. The effect that a Moonstone gives off is also known as schiller, a blue-toned, subtle and milky lustre or glow that originates from deep within the gemstone. So when the stone is turned or moved in different directions, it gives off the impression of the moon’s reflection on water. 


Labradorite earrings
Iridescent pear-cut Labradorite earrings from our earrings collection. Due to their opacity, Labradorite are mostly cut as cabochon gems.

Like Moonstones, Labradorite also belong to the Feldspar group of minerals. What set Labradorite apart is an effect known as labradorescence. Unlike the adularescence of Moonstones, Labradorescence is caused by a cluster of needle-like inclusions that interact with light to create a spectrum of colors unlike Moonstones misty, blue glow. Unlike moonstones that are semi-opaque, translucent to transparent gemstones, labradorite are mostly opaque, though needles can be observed under light and magnification. 

They are also referred to as Spectrolite when they exhibit multiple vibrant colors at once, though they generally appear as grey. The most common flashes of colors observed in this effect are blue, green and yellow and in other specimens that are usually termed as Spectrolite due to an increased level of iridescence, red, pink and orange hues can also be found, though they are much rarer. Another rare variety includes Golden Labradorite which has a uniform golden base and at times is found to be transparent instead of the usually opaque specimens.


Pictured above is a  2.04 carat Alexandrite. Emerald by day and ruby by night, this fine gem is available from our loose gemstones catalogue.

A gemstone that is both precious, rare and characterized as a color change gemstone in the truest sense, Alexandrites are often termed as ‘Emerald by day, ruby by night’. This is because they are known to have a green, emerald-like color in natural light and turn nearly ruby-red in incandescent lighting.

Alexandrites come from the Chrysoberyl mineral group. Normally, Chrysoberyls are an underappreciated mineral due to being found in yellow, yellow-green, or brownish colors. There is an exception when they produce two rare varieties, one that shows chatoyancy or the cat’s eye effect, and another when they produce Alexandrite, the rare, color change gemstone.

Named after the Tsar of Russia, Alexander II, the stone bears the colors of the Imperial Russian court, hence named Alexandrite. While there are other gemstones that bear color changing properties such as Sapphires, Garnets, Turkish Diaspore and Fluorite, Alexandrite remains one of the rarest and best gemstones to display this phenomena.


Unique and beautiful, all of these gemstones show a color changing effect specific to each gemstone. Moonstone, Labradorite and Alexandrite, although less common choices to be used in jewelry commercially, are an asset to the jewelry industry all over the globe. Their display of colors adds great value to gemstone and fine jewelry, even though two of them are categorized as semi-precious gemstones. Of course, Alexandrite is rare, sometimes even rarer than diamonds, which adds more value to any jewelry item that contains this precious gemstone.

At Galt and Bro, we offer a great mix of precious and semi-precious gemstones. In addition, we also offer customised services where you can pick a gem of your liking and have us create personalized jewelry according to your requirements. For more details visit https://galtandbro.com/personalized-creations/