According to Hindu legend, moonstone was formed from moonbeams. The early Romans, too, regarded it to be “made of moonlight” and possess healing powers. Many ancient cultures believed we could be hypnotized simply by staring at the moonstone as the light turns slightly back and forth.
Its name is derived from a visual effect, or sheen, caused by light diffraction within a microstructure consisting of a regular succession of feldspar layers. The most common moonstone is of the mineral adularia, named for an early mining site near Mt. Adular in Switzerland, now the town of St. Gotthard. Moonstone is feldspar with a pearly opalescene.
Moonstone has been used in jewelry for centuries, including ancient civilizations. Both the Romans and Greeks associated Moonstone with their lunar deities. In more recent history, the moonstone became popular during the Art Nouveau period; French goldsmith René Lalique and many others created a large quantity of jewelry using this stone.
Moonstone is a birthstone for June, along with pearl and alexandrite.