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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

Where It's Found

map

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.

Three Occurrences of Oregon Sunstone

Duncan Pay, Robert Weldon, Shane McClure, and Kevin Schumacher , Oct 14, 2013 Read more in English

Research on gem feldspar from the Shigatse region of Tibet

Ahmadjan Abduriyim, Shane F. McClure, George R. Rossman, Thanong Leelawatanasuk, Richard W. Hughes, Brendan M. Laurs, Ren Lu, Flavie Isatelle, Kenneth Scarratt, Emily V. Dubinsky, Troy R. Douthit, and John L. Emmett Read more in English

Sunstone Labradorite from the Ponderosa Mine, Oregon

Christopher L. Johnston, Mickey E. Gunter and Charles R. Knowles , Dec 1, 1991 Read more in English

The Chinese red feldspar controversy: chronology of research up until July 2009

George R. Rossman Read more in English