How to grade Labradorite?
We are still searching for a text book set of criteria or scientific explanation for it. That is not even touching on the how to grade labradorite vs spectrolite which in itself is a vastly controversial topic. Until that is figured out and established, if ever, I can explain how we grade labradorite and spectrolite here to hopefully ensure nothing leaves our hands miss-lead or falsely advertised. This is by no means an end all process, just the steps we take and what theory we are going with in the categorization and grading process. Its not an argument, not a right or wrong way, just our way of labeling material.
As quoted elsewhere on our site, we will send any additional pictures and/or videos of pre-cut slabs or worked pieces and also pics of the rough we have actually picked for you upon request.
Ok.... let us start by expressing our understanding that this is a widely debated subject. What is spectrolite? There has been little consistency in this topic. Perhaps for miss-leading profitable reasons, simple disagreeable or passionate opinion. So let me first say what you will recieve from our spectrolite stock, then we will touch base on what you will not or may not get, in order to dispel any confusion on the various expectations of spectrolite.
Our spectrolite is a "spectrum" of color. This means that it will display a variety of color shifts. By variety, we do not mean 8 shades of blue, but rather a combination of various shades of various colors. We somtimes make smal exceptions to the previous statement if we come across a rare color, or rare transition. You will typically observe the normal greens, blues and golds but with added colors such as oranges, reds and purple flashes all in a single piece. You will see deep, vibrant colors of this combination as well. Most if any "dead" spots will appear as a rich smokey grey to black color more times than none, which can sometimes add to a pieces appearance.
Some things that you will not, or "may" not get. We simply say "may" as some criteria may in fact be true, as it also falls under the above description. A labradorite from Finland, or any other stand alone location. A labradorite with only jet black translucent off colors. You will not get a single shade of one color which simply exhibits a superior depth, flash or consistency than the average labradorite (we sell those as AAA grade) unless it is of a very rare color, and finally, you will not recieve a low grade piece of labradorite just because it has a hint of red, orange or purple. We typically sell those pieces as AA grade labradorite, or Economy grade labradorite with the description "with a spectrum of color".
Let me say again, this may not be correct in the eyes of everyone yet may be correct to others. We openly invite any opinions, resources, criteria or information on the subject of labradorite vs spectrolite categorizing. Send us an email at email@example.com
We grade AAA labradorite as such, when it has little to no dead spots and exhibits full and vibrant flashes. We will lean away from applying this grade to large roughs simply do to the unknown. We prefer to at least investigate a larger piece to ensure you are receiving a full flashing vibrant example, with little to no dead spots. In some cases we will slab larger pieces of rough labradorite in order to cut away the undesirable areas leaving AAA grade Labradorite.
AA Grade Labradorite
Our AA graded labradorite pieces will feature solid full flashes with the occasional and various dead spots. This is the material that has good potential for the right application. Pending size requirments it can yield AAA grade pieces if the translucent areas are worked around.
Economy Grade Labradorite:
Our Economy Grade Labradorite may mean a few things. One being, it is the smaller off cuts from higher graded sections and typically has more translucent dead area than full flash. Two, it features the smaller "flecks" of flashing which you will typically see used for the lower end cabs or tumbled stones, or three, it is large bulk size labradorite which exhibits dead spots (as pictured above). This is as close to "un searched" as it gets. It means we have searched the outside, but what layers, depth of color and color schemes are within, are a mystery. These pieces are often between 500 grams and 1.5 Kilograms, often show full spectrums of color, and just the guarenteed quality cuts from the visible outside, makes the larger pieces a great money saver.
How We Price Our Material:
After reading the above description, you may come across material on the site (normally in slab form) that is labeled as AAA (for example) yet there is an obvious area of economy quality within the slab. In this case we have chosen to keep the slab intact and not cut out the economy. Let us use the example that the slab is 50 grams, 5" long. The first 2" is AAA, the middle 1" is AA and the last 2" is also AAA. This piece will be priced as though the AA middle 1" was not there, so it would be priced at 40 grams of AAA Labradorite, or as a 4" long slab of AAA Labradorite. In the end you are getting more than you paid for, and leaves some room for lesser quality cabs at a bonus cost of nothing :) We have heard good feedback from this method from our customers, however, we are always willing to trim down and sell the pieces with out the free of cost, lesser quality areas.