The Aurora Borealis is one of the most spectacular light displays on Earth. Predominantly seen in high latitude regions around the Antarctic and Arctic circles, it paints the sky with an ethereal wash of purple to green and blue lights. Labradorite is my personal favourite gemstone due to its unique and magical display of iridescent colour and light flashes that bewitchingly resemble the Aurora Borealis.
Some Ancient Inuits believed that Labradorite was the frozen fire of the Aurora Borealis, and I can see why. Legend says that an Inuit warrior found a cave with the Aurora Borealis embedded within the rocks, on the shoreline of Labrador, Canada. He attempted to release the Aurora Borealis with his spear but was unable to remove it all, leaving some of the light imprisoned in the rocks forever. The native inhabitants used the gemstone for medicinal purposes as they believed that it would increase their energy as well as reducing stress and anxiety.
In Norse mythology, it was associated with the 'Bifrost Bridge', a burning rainbow bridge which joined 'Midgard' (Earth) to 'Asgard' (the realm of the gods) – a gateway between Earth and heaven. In traditional Hindu belief systems, Labradorite is related to the throat chakra (vishuddha) which is known as the purification centre. This chakra is associated with hearing, speech, self-expression and creativity. When this chakra is open, any negative experiences will be changed into positive ones and will be replaced with wisdom and learning. Meditation to open up this chakra is said to bring about various psychic abilities to help communication between the physical and metaphysical world, and to help the wearer recall dreams from past lives.
It wasn't until 1770 that Labradorite was officially discovered by Moravian missionaries on the Isle of Paul in Labrador.
Although legend says that the Ancient Inuits discovered Labradorite, it wasn't until 1770 that it was officially discovered by Moravian missionaries on the Isle of Paul in Labrador, who consequently named it Labradorite. It was the Moravians who first saw the potential in the gemstone and sent it to the Moravian Mission secretary in London where it soon became popular in England and France.
It has also been found in other places including Russia, Australia and Mexico, with the most impressive pieces coming from Madagascar and Finland. Deposits in Finland have produced specimens of exceptional labradorescence, and more specifically the Ylamaa quarries in Lappeenranta which have given us some of the most colourful and unparallelled of Labradorite gems.
MORE GEMSTONE LORE