Labradorite is a feldspar mineral of the plagioclase series, containing sodium calcium aluminum silicate. Labradorite is known for its “shiller effect” or “labradorescence” where an iridescent color play of blue, green, red, orange, yellow, pink or purple appears. Labradorite’s color play looks quite different from opal’s color play, but both are caused by diffraction and only visible across a limited angle view. In Labradorite, the play of color is caused by alternating layers of two feldspars with different chemical compositions. The colors displayed depend on the thickness of the alternating layers and their refractive index.
Labradorite was discovered in Labrador, Canada in 1770 is named in its honor. Labradorite is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. It often occurs as a primary mineral in igneous rocks such as basalt, gabbro, and norite. Spectrolite is the trade name for the very labradorescent, high-quality variety of Labradorite originating from Finland.
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