Labradorite Labradorescence

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'Labradorite Labradorescence'

Labradorite Labradorescence

[Public Domain] 27 Nov 2015 Dylan O'Donnell
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I just bought a small slab of this impossibly beautiful mineral “labradorite” for $12 from the local lapidary club in Byron Bay. It has a specific internal crystalline nanostructure and “twinning” that causes light not to simply absorb and reflect back into your eyes at one wavelength, but to split and reflect various wavelengths depending on the angle it’s viewed.

So unique and specific is this optical effect it has its own name – “Labradorescence”. Essentially, what you are looking at is not blue or yellow, or orange or green. It’s half transparent and can look like any of these depending on the angle between your eyes, the light, and the Labradorite.

It very much reminds me of colour and structure of deep space nebulas but each occur at wildly different scales. The mineral is associated with olivine though which is the only gemstone we’ve recovered so far from space, as it comes down very rarely in meteorites that fall to earth. It came with a small piece of paper detailing the crystals mystical bullshit properties which I promptly threw in the bin – its actual properties are far more interesting!

This photo was taken with a mere iPhone 6S Plus. Which says something both about the brilliant colour of the Labradorite and increasingly excellent sensors of modern smartphones. I’ve included some more DSLR photos with macro below also in case you’d like to see the detail at a more microscopic level.

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Here is some of the gear this photo was made with. Click for info

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