Sunstone

What is Sunstone?

Yellow, as if filled with warmth, color and shimmering quality reminiscent of the sun glare on the water leaves no doubt that this gem is a fragment of a heavenly body. Sunstone keeps your eyes glued to its gold, orange, and brown sparkles. Its soft shimmering calms and pacifies, and it is not for nothing that it is also called a joyful stone.

Sunstone is a master of disguise. It is easy to confuse it with aventurine, labradorite, selenite, and even amber due to similarities in color and irradiance. In fact, sunstone belongs to the family of aventurescent feldspar. Most often, sunstone refers to heliolite, a mineral which name contains two Greek words: helios (Sun) and lithos (stone). Besides heliolite, the trade name Sunstone is given to such minerals as labradorite feldspar, orthoclase feldspar, oligoclase (plagioclase feldspar), and some others.

Physical Properties of Sunstone

Sunstone, gemstone beads for necklace

From translucent to almost transparent, sunstone boasts strong metallic shimmering when the sun hits its surface. These flashes are the result of the interaction between sunlight and small mineral inclusions (biotite, hematite, goethite, copper, and others) within the stone. Having a plate shape and a common orientation, these inclusions catch the light and reflect it at a certain angle creating an effect also known as aventurescence.

Sunstones carry a wide range of warm colors, namely yellow, orange, brown, and red, although the latter is pretty rare. Even rarer are gray and green stones. Regardless of the color, sunstone mesmerizes with its glassy shine, and some specimens feature a cat's eye effect.

Sunstone is a fairly hard gem - it has up to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. At the same time, perfect cleavage gives it fragility. If you hit it against a flat hard surface, it may crack.

Types of Sunstone

Heliolite, otherwise known as Golden Labradorite, offers translucency and a magnificent play of colors. Due to the inclusion of copper, this golden-red mineral displays a subtle aventurescence.

Mexican sunstone contains particles of iron, which give it a rich straw color. This mineral is found in basalt lavas. Some specimens may have weight up to 20 carats.

The statement color of Norwegian sunstone is brown and earthy yellow. Microscopic hematite and goethite plates enrich it with a unique luster. At the same time, the mineral has no fluorescence. Deposits of Norwegian sunstone are found in quartz veins, and its specimens rarely exceed 10 carats.

Minerals mined in Congo display a beautiful greenish color. According to the older classification, Congo sunstone was described as andesine. However, more recent studies confirmed that it is no other than labradorite.

Indian sunstones strike the eye with an orange-red color and a luxurious luster courtesy of biotite inclusions. More often than not, these stones are cut en cabochon (polished instead of faceted). Some stones deliver asterism, a star-shaped pattern of light-reflecting particles.

Oregon Sunstone boasts translucence and original champagne color. It lacks visible aventurescence. Instead, it has millions of tiny copper platelets - schiller - giving the stone internal glow. When you look at Oregon sunstone at different angles, it may display up to three colors.

sunstone, loose stones for jewelry making

History of Sunstone

A beautiful legend says that gods created the world, oceans, and the Sun, but the heavenly body was alone. One day it saw the Moon and decided to meet it. However, the closer it approached, the farther the Moon appeared. The Sun spent seven days chasing the stranger, and on the eighth day, it shed tears. These tears turned into sunstones.

People who lived in Ancient India and Greece used the mineral in magical rituals. They believed that the stone is sort of a conductor between our world and the otherworld. It helped priests and shamans talk to the souls of the departed. Later, during the Renaissance, the stone was endowed with the power to control stars and planets.

Despite its stunning beauty, our ancestors didn’t give the mineral a particularly high value. Only in 1841, after geologists had found an amazing sun-like stone in the Andes, it made the public take notice.

Sunstone Healing Properties

Modern lithotherapy claims that sunstone has a variety of positive effects on the human body. If you suffer from allergic reactions the stone will come in very handy. They say that sunstone jewelry makes allergies less severe. The mineral is also ‘prescribed’ to people who have headaches and sleep disorders. Sunstones lend themselves to the treatment of acute respiratory infections. Its vibrations help cope with angina, tonsillitis, and pneumonia. Besides that, the gemstone may positively affect the heart, liver, as well as gastrointestinal tract.

Sunstone is beneficial to people who experience stress and emotional turmoil. Regular interaction with the mineral improves the functioning of the nervous system, provides clarity of thoughts, and facilitates decision making.

Sunstone, gemstone beads for necklace

Sunstone Metaphysical Properties

Sorcerers and shamans say that sunstone is able to attract the love and attention of the opposite sex. If you’re looking for a love amulet, sunstone is just what the doctor ordered. On top of that, it charges the one who wears it with optimism, gives self-confidence, and helps develop a sense of beauty. Sunstone jewelry is a perfect choice for the elderly. Vibrations the mineral gives off positively impact mood as well as enhance energy and vigor. Experts advise combining sunstone with moonstone and jade to bolster its power.

Psychics claim that sunstone aids to develop clairvoyance and supernatural abilities. If you seek protection against slander, evil eye, and misfortune, you can rely on sunstone amulets. To top it all off, the mineral helps find the right path in life, improves intuition, and wards off ill-wishers.

Sunstone for Jewelry Making

Sunstone isn’t the most common material in mass-production jewelry but it is a favorite option of creative jewelry designers. If you’re looking for an original gemstone to command attention, sunstone is your best bet.

Because of its fragility, sunstone shouldn’t be used in pieces of jewelry exposed to rough wear. It is ideal for pins, necklaces, pendants, and earrings. If you’re going to incorporate it into rings or bracelets, make sure to choose closed or recessed settings.

Kenkengems provides sunstone in cabochons and faceted cuts of different sizes and geometry. Make sure to browse through our selection of loose stones, strands, gems by piece, as well as sunstones in silver settings. We take special pride in our Oregon sunstone collection. As if lit from within, these stones are a real feast for the eyes.

Oregon Sunstone, loose stone

Wide variety of our Sunstone collection

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