The Romans believed moonstones were crystalized moon-rays; one look at them and you’ll know why.
This ethereal mineral has a glow akin to the subtle light emitted by the moon. Known as adularescence, this phenomenon is unique to moonstones.
Not considered a ‘precious stone’, moonstones were almost ideal for René Lalique. Known for his use of non-precious materials like horn, glass, and enamel, Lalique used them frequently in his work . . . enhancing their romantic quality with his sinuous Art Nouveau lines.
Perhaps the most well-known example of Lalique’s incorporation of moonstones is a corsage ornament known as the Dragonfly Woman. This iconic piece illustrates everything that is Lalique . . . the insect-themed female figure, the exquisite carving, the organic lines, the delicate enameling and the use of opals and moonstones – two of Lalique’s favorite gemstones – it seems he had a penchant for ‘blue’ stones.
Dragonfly woman corsage ornament. Rene Lalique (1860-1945). Gold, enamel, chrysoprase, moonstones, and diamonds, 23 x 26.5cm (9 x 10 3/8”)1897 – 1898.
Dragonfly woman has been housed at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon since 1908.
Bats and butterflies pocket watch. Rene Lalique (1860-1945) Ca. 1899-1900. Gold, enamel, moonstone.
“Of gilt-finished jewelled lever movement, the openface pocketwatch of circular outline with blued-steel moon-style hands and applied black enamelled Arabic numerals, against the gold ground accented by blue and white enamelled fluttering butterflies, within a polished gold case, the reverse depicting numerous flying purplish blue enamelled bats, with scattered moonstone accents, further embellished by a sculpted gold serpent bow.”
Horn and Moonstone tiara.
Enamel Peacock and Moonstone Brooch. Below: Seahorse and Moonstone Brooch. Lalique.
- Jack du Rose: Nouveau Lalique (siamgempalace.wordpress.com)
- June’s Duel Birthstones: Moonstone and Pearl (belairjewelry.com)
- Gemstone Focus | Moonstone (petitsbijouxgems.wordpress.com)