Spectrolite is a trademarked variety of labradorite and has been called the "Finnish Stone of Light." Labradorite is prized for its metallic rainbow luster, which is especially evident in the Spectrolite variation.
The gemstone labradorite was originally discovered on the Labrador Peninsula in eastern Canada around 1770. Other labradorite deposits have been found in Australia, Finland, India, Madagascar, Mexico, and in the United States. However, the rare multi-colored Spectrolite variety can only be obtained from Finland. Labradorite belongs to the plagioclase branch of the feldspar group. Its "schiller" or metallic luster can be observed when light hits the stone at an angle. Its metallic luminance, called labradorescence, includes violet, blue green, yellow and red hues. The presence of fine platelets of various materials and tiny additions of limenite, rutile and magnetite produce this spectacular diffusion of light. While digging for a defensive construction project during World War II, the Finnish people unearthed Spectrolite crystals. Once the war was over, mining of Spectrolite began. Spectrolite has been mined in the village of Ylämaa since the 1950s and was adopted for jewelry use beginning in 1973.
Finland's Spectrolite mines are located a chilly 65 degrees north of the equator. Mining activities can only take place during the three months of a year when there is no snow. Spectrolite is the highest grade of dark-based labradorite and comes only from Finland.