The Feldspar Group Play on Colour

The feldspar group is notable for its play of colour within the mineral. The crystal system is Triclinic, and usually prismatic, but this is rarely displayed, except in Amazonite. There are two subgroups that contain minerals considered to be gemstones: potassium feldspars, and plagioclases, which go from calcium to sodium feldspars.

  • Amazonite - Usually opaque green sodium feldspar, most commonly teal to turquoise in colour, with little or no play of light.
  • Moonstone - Colourless, white or yellow potassium feldspar of the orthoclase species with a schiller or "shimmer", which can be white, blue, or rainbow.
  • Labradorite - Labradorite is usually dark grey to black, but occasionally occurs as clear or pale yellow. It shows a schiller (also known as labradorescence) in lustrous metallic tints. This is mainly caused by interference of light by lattice distortions within the mineral. Spectrolite refers to a variety of Labradorite originating from Finland, which shows a particularly effective display of spectral colours.
  • Sunstone (Aventurine Feldspar) - Colouration is usually orange, with shiny, metallic "glitter". This is due to light reflecting off tiny platelets of hematite and goethite.

Author: Janelle Scialla