From the High Desert of Southeastern Oregon
Our sunstones come from two localities: the Rabbit Hills area near Lakeview, Oregon; and the Ponderosa Mine, which is close to Burns, Oregon.
Oregon Sunstone is a variety of crystalline plagioclase feldspar and occurs in shades of red, green, orange, and yellow. Many of the gems are dichroic, showing different colors depending on the angle at which they are being viewed. Minute copper inclusions often give sunstone a special radiance known as schiller.
Two to seventeen million years ago, Oregon Sunstone formed deep beneath the earth’s crust and was carried to the surface by molten magma. In southeastern Oregon, lava flows of this type were often covered by basalt, a hard cap-rock that can be several feet thick. The desert floor in the Rabbit Hills area glitters with small crystals of pale yellow sunstone that have been released as the rock weathers.
Oregon Sunstone is a lively gem. It is relatively inexpensive per carat, making sizes in the three to ten carat range approachable. Since it has a Mohs hardness of about 6.5, sunstone is not recommended for rings worn every day.
The color is entirely natural. Depending on the hue and nuance of the particular gem, it can be set in either yellow gold or in one of the white metals. The browns and greens are not as widely known as the oranges, but are displayed to excellent advantage in a white metal setting.