Labradorite is a gemstone that was named after Labrador in Canada, where it was found on the Isle of Paul, near Nain in 1770. It has since been found in other places, including Finland, Madagascar, and Australia. After its discovery, labradorite became popular with the missionaries. Labradorite is a plagioclase feldspar which shows adularescence (a white or bluish light seen when turned).
This optical effect is so unique to labradorite that it has been termed “labradorescence”. It is the result of diffraction of light in the layers of rock. When viewed at certain angles, labradorite exhibits such captivating color that has led to Inuit legends stating that the Northern Lights shone down on the shores of Labrador and were captured inside these colorful stones. The most highly valued labradorite is material that shows the full spectrum of color in its labradorescence. Labradorite that does not exhibit labradorescence can still make beautiful gemstones because of aventurescence, which is a glitter caused by diffraction of light from mineral platelets.