Crack in a Labradorite – How Did it Happen?

by Barbara Jacquin.
(Uzes in the south of France)

Labradorite Pendant Before the Stone Cracked, by Barbara Jacquin  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Before the labradorite stone cracked

A question for you lapidary experts: One of my best customers bought a labradorite pendant, one of my nicest I think, several months ago but recently showed it to me with its new crack, vertical from top to bottom in the very middle of the stone.

There was no crack, only the natural horizontal lines typical of a labradorite.

I set it well with no forcing or undue pressure and have never had a lab break before.

Labradorite Pendant Before the Stone Cracked, by Barbara Jacquin  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

The labradorite stone before it cracked

The customer is almost sure that it wasn’t dropped but neither of us can understand how this happened.

I know that labradorites can break during cutting and polishing because they’re not the hardest of stones.

Does anyone have another explanation?

Barbara Jacquin
Barbara’s Bijoux

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  1. HI Barbara,
    My name’s Ben, nice to make your acquaintance 🙂
    I’m new at this website, but I do have quite a lot of experience with gems, and with customers 🙂

    well, the answer is yes – Labradorite can break. It may look sudden, but a small unseen crack can easily grow after setting. The pendant you’ve made was worn by a customer for a while, and even if it wasn’t dropped, there’s more than fair chance that it got a few small hits – when taking it on and off, when jogging, doing the dishes etc..

    I’ve had similar a case with stones that are just as hard and even a bit harder. we’ve got our hands on a stock of Amethyst facets, cut and polished which looked great. They were set and used, and after a little while we started receiving messages from customers regarding cracks showing out of thin air.

    There’s always a chance your customer dropped it without noticing, but it is possible that the crack just appeared. Plus, I saw your lovely store and you are quite generous with the size of stone you’re using 🙂 and the bigger it is, the chances of it cracking at some point increases!

    I hope this helps.

  2. Welcome, Ben – and thank you for sharing your expertise! 🙂

  3. Labradorite is a member of the feldspar family and has natural cleavage lines. The stone may be perfect, but if struck, dropped, or sometimes just heated, cracks or fractures can appear. Looking at this stone, i would guess that the line in the middle had some unseen inclusions that over time weakened the stone along a concealed weak plane in the stone.

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