by Jessa Dow on January 17, 2009

Spectrolite~ The Finnish Stone of Light

Spectrolite was discovered by accident in 1940 during the Second World War, when stones were being quarried along Finland’s eastern border to form antitank obstacles. The name Spectrolite was given by Professor Aarne Laitakari.

Spectrolite, the most valuable and rare form of labradorite, is a beautiful semi-precious gemstone with an iridescent play of color. Spectrolite is a member of the feldspar labradorite stone family, but it has many differences that set it apart from the more common labradorite. Spectrolite was entitled a gem name of its own because of the rainbow rich variety and depth of colors.The base color of spectrolite ranges from medium gray to a dark gray/black. As you move the stone in and out of light at different angles you will see the brilliant and unexpected flash of color, an effect known as “Labradorescence” or “Schiller”. The appearance and disappearance of color-play is its most striking feature in this gemstone. This stone belongs to the plagioclase feldspar group. Other examples of popular feldspar varieties include sunstone, moonstone, amazonite and noble orthoclase.

Spectrolite is found only at Ylamaa, a remote location in eastern Finland. Other forms of feldspar,one example being Madagascar labradorite, are incorrectly identified as spectrolite due the unusually rare color variety sometimes found within the material. But the tell tale sign is the gray base coloring in all labradorite. True spectrolite has a black base color, making the colors more striking due to the color contrast. The most valuable and rarest spectrolite displays an amazing combination of shades of red, magenta, pink, purple, violet, bright teal blue ,green, yellow and orange…. virtually the entire color spectrum.

Spectrolite Butterfly with 18k gold, 22k gold, spectrolite, opal, tanzanite, pink sapphire, yellow sapphire and apatite.

Every aspect of this butterfly was hand fabricated including the chain and all detailing done with piercing and hand engraving technques. All cabochons cut by Mark Anderson of Different Seasons Jewelry.

18k Spectrolite Butterfly


18k Gold Spectrolite Butterfly

Below shows a one-of-a-kind reversible spectrolite pendant we made with pink sapphire and tanzanite accents.
Side 1~ accented with faceted pink sapphire tube set within a pierced and hand engraved sterling silver scrollwork setting. Side2~ With beautiful bright faceted tanzanite gem accents.
By Jessica Dow and Mark Anderson.


Icy blue spectrolite

Rervsible ocean themed reversible spectrolite pendant

Icy blue/teal spectrolite, shown before and after setting. Pendant features a bail with a matching bright blue sapphire.

An incredible, rare full spectrum spectrolite gemstone!
(cut by our very talented friend Gail Clark)

Perfect Rainbow Spectrolite

A Video of the same gemstone as above~
(If the video isn’t working (it seems to come and go, please visit direct link~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessa1155/2584286305/

Pure purple spectrolite

Pure intense purple spectrolite, a slightly domed cab by Mark Anderson.

Spectrolite with 4 Color Sections

This two sided polished gem is both bizarre and beautiful! This gem has the usual directional flash that is expected with Finnish spectrolite but each side is split in two and flashes separately when moved through different light sources. It’s an amazing effect and this is the strongest example of a color split spectrolite I have ever seen. As with most of our spectrolite, this gem is polished on both sides.

Neon Finnish spectrolite

A small but very intense example of top grade cabbed spectrolite.

Spectrolite 002

Amazing Neon Color in a polished piece of rough!

tied dyed spectrolite

Tie-Dyed Spectrolite Gems!

neon pink, magenta, purple, yellow orange spectrolite

Rare spectrolite!

An usual bright purple & burgundy red flowing into orange and yellow.

Pink,Orange Shield Spectrolite

A Large Gem with Purple, Pink and Orange, Yellow and an incredible teal green and blue.

Big Blue Side 1

An incredible, amazing  huge icy blue gemstone….one of the brightest blues in spectrolite I’ve ever seen.

Many of our gems are polished on both sides. The photos below show some of the first spectrolites from our collection that have been published. These mini collages show both front and back of each spectrolite.

Big Cobalt 46 carats 36mm by 20.5mm

Rare Cobalt Blue/Purple Cabochon

triangle spectrolite 20 carats

Grape Jelly SPectrolite 21.5 cts 20.5mm by 15.5mm

“Grape Jelly Spectrolite”

Flaming Magenta 20.5 carats 31mm by 18mm

“Flaming Magenta Spectrolite”

35 carats Reversible Spectrolite Gem

28 Carats Reversible Spectrolite gem

Rough Spectrolite prior to being cabbed~

Finnish Spectrolite

These are cabs cut from the rough shown above. Cabs by by Mark Anderson

Finnish Spectrolite
Cabs cut by Mark Anderson

Finnish Spectrolite

Spectrolite Inlay Ring 1

Spectrolite Inlay Ring 2

An example of Mark’s spectrolite inlay jewelry.

*~Jewelry by Mark Anderson of Different Seasons~*
*~Cabochons cut by Mark Anderson or lapidary artisan Gail Clark~*

Spectrolite Cadenza

“Spectrolite Cadenza”
Pierced reversible spectrolite pendant with faceted pink spinel, peridot, amethyst and spassartite garnet inset into the back of the pendant.
Necklace includes a tube set gem connector which enables the wearer to flip the pendant to either side without removing the necklace. Mark chose a gorgeous rhodolite garnet for the gem connector which matches the spectrolite cabochon perfectly.

Hot Pink Spectrolite Ring

*~Hot Pink Spectrolite Ring~*


~Two more examples from our series of reversible spectrolite pendants (all designs by Jessica Dow)~*

Exotic Gemstones/Spectrolite Chapter

~Our spectrolite jewelry featured by Renee Newman in her book Exotic Gemstones Vol 1.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “A man is like a bit of Labrador Spar, which has no luster as you turn it in your hand until you come to a particular angle, then it shows deep and beautiful colors.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

suzi9mm January 19, 2009 at 11:19 am

cool article. my family had land where there was spectrolite (as well as hypersthene), and my parents then set up a jewellery company… not surprisingly, i have plenty of jewels made from these stones.

great photos u have 🙂

Jane Walker January 19, 2009 at 3:05 am

My son just visited Finland … perhaps I can live in hope that he brings a piece home for me! It is just gorgeous.

Teri Baskett January 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm

What great information…I did not know anything about spectrolite & would never have guessed that it was so beautiful. Your examples in the photos are simply gorgeous! Thanks so much for the illuminating article! Teri Twitter: Teri_B

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