Moldavite Meaning and Properties

Moldavite History

Once thought to be artificial, moldavite is the only tektite of gemstone quality. Tektites are small, glassy combinations of silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide and other metals, which form as a result of molten debris from meteorites. While most tektite is black or dark brown, like obsidian, moldavite is a rare green variety. Moldavite is said to be discovered by Dr. Josef Mayer near the Vltava River in the Czech Republic and was referred to as vltavín. However, in German, the river is called Moldau and the area the stone was found is Moldauthein. The gem was named after the German name for the city and became moldavite in English.

When Dr. Mayer found this "glass," he believed it was a beryl produced by volcanic activity. Its 12-million-year extraterrestrial origins weren't discovered until centuries later. Moldavite stones were often set in jewelry during the Baroque era (1600s), but it's believed the gemstone was used as far back as the Paleolithic period. One of the more famous moldavite jewelry creations is a raw moldavite stone set in platinum, accented with diamond and black pearl given to Queen Elizabeth II in the 1960s by the Swiss government on the tenth anniversary of her coronation.

Moldavite Metaphysical Properties

Moldavite is said to bring good luck to those who wear it, according to Czechoslovakian legend. It was also believed moldavite could help bring harmony in marital relationships and so was a common betrothal gift. Moldavite has been used for creating talismans and amulets to bring good fortune, protection and even help with increasing fertility.

If you're particularly cynical, you may want to wear moldavite as this stone is believed to help counter cynicism. A stone from the cosmos, it's no surprise moldavite can help us appreciate the wonders of the universe. Though moldavite isn't a traditional birthstone, due to its extraterrestrial origin, moldavite is a stone of the stars and works well for all astrological signs. Moldavite is said to interact with the heart chakra, though it can also stimulate the third eye and crown chakras.

Moldavite Geological Properties

Moldavite occurs in varieties of green from pale to deep forest, though some greenish-brown specimens have also been found. Medium green--aka "bottle green"--with no brown is the most preferred color. Typically opaque, moldavite in rare instances can be transparent and is worth a substantial amount more than opaque varieties. Gemstone-quality moldavite is often categorized as regular or museum grade. Medium-grade moldavite usually has higher transparency with fern-like patterns. Regular moldavite is darker, can have brownish coloring and has more of a pitted look. Moldavite's texture is one of its most intriguing characteristics since the raw gemstone looks wrinkled, etched or imprinted.

The largest deposits of Moldavite were found in the upper Vltava River basin of the Czech Republic. Moldavite gemstones have also been found in Moravia. Moldavite from the Moravia region tend to be more brown in color and are sometimes referred to as moravita. Some moldavite has also been found in Austria, though the amount discovered has been significantly less than in the previously mentioned two regions.

Mineral Information Silicon dioxide + aluminum oxide
Chemical Composition SiO(+Al2O3)
Color Green to brown-green
Hardness 5-1/2 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.32 - 2.38
Refractive Index 1.48 - 1.54

Proper Care of Moldavite

Despite dropping from the sky at one point, moldavite can be fragile. To clean moldavite, simply wipe the gemstone with a soft cloth free of impregnations and mild soapy water. Rinse the stone thoroughly before wearing or storing. Avoid any harsh chemicals or cleaners as well as steam and ultrasonic cleaners for moldavite. It's best to avoid extreme temperature changes or leaving moldavite out in strong sunlight for extended periods of time. Remove moldavite jewelry before engaging in physical activities that could result in the stone receiving sharp blows. When not in use, store moldavite in a soft cloth or on its own velveteen jewelry tray liner to keep it safe from scratching or becoming scratched by other surfaces.

To learn more about moldavite and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Moldavite

The pocked and pitted surface of moldavite creates dynamic texture in jewelry. With gemstone jewelry trends leaning towards raw appearances, moldavite is perfectly en vogue. For tone-on-tone designs, pair moldavite with similarly green stones such as jade or green aventurine. Coordinate with brownish gemstones such as smoky quartz to create an incredibly earthy vibe. Choose materials cut into similarly intriguing surfaces such as petrified wood or rough gemstone nuggets and chips to play up the raw look. Moldavite has a beautiful green or brownish color that lends itself well to feminine, masculine or unisex jewelry.

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