As the state gemstone of the Beaver State, Oregon sunstone has become synonymous with the rugged, earthy spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Its varying color tone, relatively large size and mesmerizing aventurescence make this gorgeous gemstone a popular pick for jewelry-making, rock collecting and simply admiring in wonderment!

The exquisite copper-like gemstone has long been valued and revered by Native Americans. In fact, Oregon sunstone deposits were originally discovered by the native people of the Pacific Northwest, and some tribes treasured them so much that they buried them with their dead. Let’s learn a little bit more about this magical, sunny stone and see whether it’s a good choice for your next special gem project.

Oregon Sunstone beads

All About Sunstone

Sunstone is of the plagioclase feldspar species. It is a sodium calcium aluminum silicate — which means that the mineral is created from sedimentary processes. Sunstone has a metallic quality with a reddish-orange glitter triggered by light reflections from tiny hematite or goethite platelets within the stone. Sunstone is found in Sweden, Norway and the United States. In the U.S., it’s found in Oregon, of course, but also in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York.

Clear Oregon Sunstone

Oregon sunstone is one particular type of sunstone that’s found exclusively in Harney County and Lake County in Southeast Oregon. The elemental copper within Oregon sunstone leads to its signature red-orange hue, but the stones can vary widely in terms of coloring. Popular variations include green and clear Oregon sunstone. Compared to regular sunstone, Oregon sunstone can create large crystals, which can make it much more valuable. This means the stone is an excellent pick for focal beads or anytime you need a gorgeous centerpiece for your wearable works of art.

Qualities of Oregon Sunstone

According to the International Gem Society, rough, high-value Oregon sunstone is currently being extracted from the state in substantial quantities. The stone is facetable and beloved for its rich coloring and glittery effect, which makes it highly desirable for jewelry, carvings and cabochons. Here are some other important qualities of Oregon sunstone that make it worth your consideration in your next jewelry-making endeavor.

  • Size — Oregon sunstone varies in size, but it is often larger than regular sunstone and yields crystals large enough for cut stones. The average size of an Oregon sunstone is 5 to 10 carats, but you’ll find that even larger stones are quite common. It’s not unusual to see this type of stone in 20- to 50-carat sizes.
  • Color Regular sunstone is best-known for its creamy copper-pinkish hue. While some Oregon sunstone takes on a similar burnt coloring, the Oregon variety comes in more color variations, with some stones exhibiting a clear, gold, coral, peach or green hue. Some Oregon sunstones feature two or three colors in a single stone.
  • Shape — Oregon sunstone is a faceted stone that can take many unique shapes. Popular options include round and pear-shaped Oregon sunstone, but you will find them in a wide assortment of cuts.
  • Appearance —One of the most special and desirable qualities of Oregon sunstone is its glittery appearance and the way it catches light and appears to radiate. The stunning aventurescence causes a golden red schiller effect that appears to glow. This unique effect is caused by the copper inclusions within each gem.
  • Hardness — According to the IGS, Oregon sunstone has a hardness of 6 to 6.5, which means that it’s not as soft as some stones and isn’t likely to scratch easily but can be scratched with a steel file, if desired.
  • Value — The wonderful thing about Oregon sunstone and other kinds of sunstone is that, despite its beautiful appearance and other desirable high-end gemstone qualities, it can be relatively affordable depending on the quality of the stone. You can expect to pay somewhere between $50 and $300 per carat of Oregon sunstone.

Oregon Sunstone bracelet

Adding Sunstone to Your Jewelry Projects

If you’re in the market for remarkable gemstone beads that you can use to complete your one-of-a-kind jewelry project, Beads of Cambay is a wonderful place to shop. We have high-quality sunstone beads that showcase all the best characteristics of this bright and sunny gemstone. Stock up on affordable sunstones in various colors, shapes and sizes from our store.