I have a confession: I’ve had these sterling silver bead caps for years. If you haven’t worked with bead caps, you might not know that they don’t work with all beads – the bead has to be the right size and shape for the cap to sit on the bead as, well, a cap. I was rummaging through older supplies and came across these and knew immediately that my larvikite beads would be perfect! The fit is wonderful. I added a small tassel to the bottom of the pendant using labradorite (look at the blue flash!) and spinel. The pendant is a total of 1 ¼” long. The gorgeous long-and-short chain is 16” including clasp.
About the stones:
Larvikite, though sometimes incorrectly called “black labradorite,” is not the same material as labradorite. Labradorite is a mineral, and larvikite is a collection of minerals. It does display the same optical phenomenon as labradorite, called “labradorescence,” or “schiller.” This effect is a result of alternating layers of alkali feldspar and plagioclase that make up the stone. Larvikite comes from Norway.
Labradorite is a variety of feldspar, just like moonstone – but it is a plagioclase variety while moonstone is orthoclase. Did you know that most “Oregon Sunstone” is simply labradorite, with copper inclusions that give it its burnt orange color? Rainbow moonstone is also a variety of labradorite. Labradorite is famous for its “play-of-color,” or labradorescence, that can be seen when tilting the stone at different angles. This is light reflecting off surfaces where two crystals grew together. It’s named for Labrador, Canada, where it was discovered. Labradorite is not treated.
Spinel is often thought of as black but also comes in blue, purple, red, orange, and pink. There are famous Spinel gems that have made a name for themselves in history. This includes the “Timur Ruby” in the Crown Jewels, weighing over 350 carats, and the “Black Prince’s Ruby,” which is displayed in the Tower of London and was said to have been given to Edward, Prince of Wales in 1367 after being owned by a succession of Moorish and Spanish kings. Spinel is a birthstone for August.