A Striking Family Photo
Labradorite feldspars can come in many different colors, but labradorites that display labradorescence — broad, iridescent flashes of color — are the most well-known and sought-after. Only the topmost stone in this image displays labradorescence. This phenomenal effect is often blue but is the most valuable when it displays all the colors of the rainbow.
The definition of a phenomenon as “an object or aspect known through the senses,” according to Webster’s dictionary, might explain why some gemstones are called phenomenal. Or it could be because these gems are “exceptional, unusual or abnormal.”
In reality, however, it is how the structure, inclusions and properties of these gemstones interact with light to return an unusual visual effect, or phenomenon, in the parlance of gemology, that make them phenomenal.
Regardless, we experience these gemstones as fascinating and recognize that they are, in fact, extraordinary.