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Sunstone

Sunstone’s phenomenal varieties show a distinct and lively glitter called aventurescence.

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Copper

Tiny copper platelets can cause the prized red hue in Oregon sunstone.

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Colour zones

Some sunstones exhibit attractive colour zoning.

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Matte finish

Matte-finish facets can provide an interesting and attractive contrast.

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Glitter

Sunstone’s glittery sparkle shows up even in its rough form.

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Bicoloured

Some sunstone rough displays interesting zoned colours.

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Desert sun

The Ponderosa mine produces many lovely specimens like this one.

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Tools

Overview

About Sunstone

Sunstone is a member of the feldspar group. Both the orthoclase and the plagioclase feldspar species boast a sunstone variety. Other feldspar group gems include moonstone, non-phenomenal orthoclase, phenomenal and non-phenomenal labradorite and amazonite. Sunstone from Oregon is gaining attention as a natural and untreated product of the United States.

Sunstone Description

Sunstone History and Lore


Feldspar

Sunstone is a member of the feldspar group of minerals.


Aventurescence

Sunstone can have a sparkly, metallic-looking lustre caused by flat, reflective inclusions.


Oregon

Oregon sunstone is a transparent feldspar with glittery copper inclusions.


Facts

  • Mineral: Feldspar
    Chemical composition

Treatments

There are a number of processes used to alter the colour or apparent clarity, or to improve the durability of gems.

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Synthetics

Some gemstones have synthetic counterparts that have essentially the same chemical, physical and optical properties, but are grown by man in a laboratory.

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Imitations

Any gem can be imitated – sometimes by man-made materials or by natural materials chosen by man to impersonate a particular gem.

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gem love

Why We Love This Gemstone

1
Glittery

Reflective inclusions in sunstone’s phenomenal varieties cause a distinct and lively glitter called aventurescence.

2
Natural

Oregon sunstone’s colours don’t result from treatment. The gem’s all natural and it’s mined in the United States.

3
“Spinel red”

Red-coloured Oregon sunstone is often marketed to consumers as “spinel red.” Its vivid hue rivals spinel and even ruby.

Quality Factors

The following factors combine to determine a sunstone’s value.

Colour

quality factors

The most in-demand sunstone colours are deep red – like this gem – deep green and intense bicolours.

Clarity

quality factors

Small inclusions provide a reddish or golden sheen; larger inclusions create glittering reflections.

Cut

quality factors

Creative cuts and calibrated gems alike are designed to highlight the gem’s glowing colours.

Carat Weight

quality factors

Sunstone is available in a range of sizes, but large carved gems like this Oregon beauty are rare.

Sunstone Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide

Research

Explore sources, gemmological research and the role of gems in history.

Oregon Sunstone Update

Duncan Pay , Apr 30, 2015 Read more in English

A sunstone odyssey,
Part 1: The Ponderosa

Duncan Pay, Robert Weldon and Kevin Schumacher , Oct 23, 2013 Read Article
Large sunstone rough from the Ponderosa mine in Oregon

Ponderosa Sunstone Update

Duncan Pay , May 11, 2018 Read more in English

What it Takes to Mine Oregon’s Sunstone

, Oct 25, 2013 Read Article