Oregon Sunstone – What Is It?

Sunstone is a certain mineral rock that has a special reflection effect when seen in a certain way. Found in Norway, Sweden, Tanzania and the United States, the sunstone is created by lava flows and dug up from the soil and decomposing rock from where it is made. Some of these stones are dug up deep from the ground where old lava flows settled. Sunstones are quite popular because of how it uses light; the aventurescence features of sunstones are seducing to gem collectors. There is one specific kind of sunstone that is attractive for its qualities and looks: the Oregon Sunstone.

oregon sunstone

What Makes Oregon Sunstone Special

This type of stone is special because of the “Schiller (twinkling) effect,” which makes the sunstone look like it’s growing from inside. This comes from the miniscule copper platelets found from within the gem; the middle of the crystal sparkles, the color is the darkest, and it becomes lighter toward the outer edges to give that twinkling effect. Oregon Sunstones instilled with this special look show the glowing effect even when seen from far out. The Schiller effect displays different colors including pink, red, and green, all are which found only in Oregon – hence the name Oregon Sunstone. It comes from across the state, but is mostly notable in the Ponderosa, Sunstone Butte, and Dust Devil Mines in Southeast Oregon.

The Oregon Sunstone occurs as phenocrysts, an early formed, large crystal, in volcanic flows from an estimated 15-17 million years ago according to geologists. Oregon Sunstones have a lot of calcium and is made mostly of a common mineral known as labradorite. The labradorite is part of the feldspar family, a group of silicate minerals with sodium, potassium, and calcium. The most common color seen in this gem is pink and multi-colored stones are rare to find, especially the blue-green color mix. All three known sunstone contents come in small, black, shiny volcanic rocks that superficially resemble similar mineral rocks that contain large feldspar crystals. Those feldspars are crystal clear like glass, yet they are usually cloudier and tinier compared to minerals in sunstone rocks, which can measure up to 3 inches in dimension.

oregon sunstone

Sunstone – The Official State Gemstone Of Oregon

In 1987, the state of Oregon voted to name their specific sunstone as the official Oregon State Gem stone. The Oregon Sunstone is still very popular among gem stone collectors for its unique qualities and sold at fairly high prices. Oregon Sunstones are uncommon in their structure, lucidity, and variety of colors, being found in abundance to allow a sustained production of such gems. While some could be found in their neighboring states, as well as in the East coast, they mainly come from the Beaver State and its deep, forest, rough terrain in the High Lava Plains and High Cascades.

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