The Lore of Labradorite
Labradorite is a favorite for many jewelry lovers and rockhounds, but did you know the legend and lore behind the stone? Labradorite was first officially identified in Canada on the Labrador Peninsula in 1770 when it was discovered and named by Moravian missionaries. The legend though, began much farther back with the indigenous inhabitants of Newfoundland and Labrador, known as the Innu people.
Moravian missionaries may have named the stone, but the Innu people were the true discoverers. They referred to it as the “fire stone”. According to the legend, the Innu people believed labradorite held the northern lights inside, until one day a warrior came along and struck the rock with his spear, freeing some of the lights and sending them back up into the sky. Perhaps it is this story that brought labradorite to be known as a stone of magic.
The Innu people treasured their prized native stone and used it in a variety of ways including grinding it up for various applications and treatments. Although that may or may not still be done today, it is somewhat reminiscent of the way ancient Egyptians used Lapis for cosmetics, and artists used it as a blue pigment for painting. In addition to treatments and remedies, the Innu also used labradorite in jewelry much like we do today.
Even beyond its practical indigenous uses and being a stone of decoration and adornment, labradorite was most highly prized by the Innu people as a spiritual stone. To this day many believe labradorite to be a stone of magic and strength, a bringer of light. Even without hearing the tale, one could come to that conclusion just by looking at the flashes of color in its depths that refract and move with the way the light reflects. This play of color is known as labradorescence, and the true magic of the stone.
Perhaps the northern lights are not trapped inside, but just hanging out there so we can hold them in the palm of our hand. Or maybe it’s just a stone of many inclusions that reflect different colors back out to the eye. However you choose to see it, labradorite is in a class of its own. No other stone exists quite like it, and most people who first see it in person will fall in love.
Since officially being named 250 years ago, labradorite has also been discovered in Madagascar, Mexico, the United States and Russia. Other varieties of labradorite have also been discovered such as spectrolite and larvikite. The most popular one by far though is labradorite, each piece always uniquely one of a kind in color and that famous labradorescent flash.