The month of August conjures up romantic phrases : August Flame, August Moon.
This brings to mind two really beautiful gemstones:
For August Flame we have the Fire Opal – among the richest orange hues in the world of gems. Fire opals do not resemble their better know opaque precious light opal varieties such as those from S. Australia; by contrast they are a vivid bold orange and translucent – almost like an orange sapphire! Top quality stones come from Brazil and whilst they are not among the most expensive of gems; they hold an individual and unique beauty all of their own.
Moonstone is a remarkable Feldspar mineral with an almost ghostly sheen caused by light interacting with the layered structure within the gem’s centre. The technical term for this phenomenon is Adularescence but is also known by the German word ‘Schiller’.
This gem is most notorious as a result of Wilkie Collins’ novel of the same name – the irony being that the ‘Moonstone’ in the novel is actually a fancy yellow diamond!
Moonstone is most commonly cut en cabochon – ie without facets; just shaped into round or oval hemispheres. Good size specimens are rarely seen -more likely; you might come across a commoner gem cleverly marketed as ‘Rainbow Moonstone’ which is actually Labradorite.