What color is it?: As shown above sunstone will be gold to orange color with bright sparkle flashes showing from within the stone.
What is the story behind this gemstone?: Not to be confused with the synthetic goldstone that is a type of glass, sunstone is a type of oligoclase feldspar that has tiny hematite, and sometimes copper, inclusions that reflect light in the sparkle pattern shown in the photograph above.
Can I wear it everyday?: Yes. This stone is usually cut en cabochon and wears very well.
Is it expensive?: It can be in the finer colors. The aventurescence or display of fire of sunstone will control the price.
Is it a birthstone?: No.
What do I need to know before going shopping?: Make sure you are shopping in a professional independent retail jewelry store. Natural sunstone is a true feldspar gemstone and will be available in a variety of colors and qualities. Some discount stores have offered the synthetic glass called goldstone as natural sunstone. Do not be misled. Stay with a professional retail jeweler with a qualified gemologist on staff to insure you are getting the real thing.
A rough sunstone shown above measuring approx. 1.5 inches in length
Source: United States, India, Russia, and other locations
Chemical: Na(AlSi3O8)Ca(Al2Si2O8) One of the sodium feldspar group.
Formation: Igneous rocks and other formations
Crystal System: Triclinic although rarely seen as crystals
Unusual Properties: Sparkles or aventurescence as seen in the specimens above.
Also of note is that sunstone from Oregon in the US is very rare and unique in that it offers the shiller effect due to inclusions of copper, while the sunstone from India and other locations is due to inclusions of hematite. There is a signification difference in value of the two types as the Oregon Sunstone with copper inclusions is far more rare and valuable. Microphotographic images of the two different types are shown below.
Oregon Sunstone at left…………………Indian Sunstone at right.