THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND RARE AMERICAN GEMSTONE

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Oregon Sunstone Guide logo

Welcome

Welcome to the Oregon Sunstone Guide. The purpose of this guide is to provide cutting edge up to date information to buyers and professionals alike about Oregon Sunstone's differing qualities, as well as maximize the amount of exposure that miners, cutters/carvers, jewelers, appraisers and other professionals all receive in the marketplace. Our goal is to grow and help each and every sector and bring Oregon Sunstone to the forefront of the gemstone trade.

oregon sunstone guide

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

Hello miners, gem cutters, carvers, jewelers, artisans, please send us images of your best work (including high-quality rough) so it can be featured in this new prestigious section of OSG. With each entry please send a short description, and a few words about history of your business and the featured piece.

Robin Callahan Designs - Pendant featuring 13.13 ct carved Oregon Sunstone from PANA Mine.

 

This was a cool project. Started last August when I got to spend the day with PANA Mine owner Ales Krivanek.

 

I saw this beautiful piece of rough sparkle when revealed by moving my huge mound of rough and I was as excited as a kid getting their first bike!

I sent the 62.6 ct piece of rough to one of my favorite Lapidary Artists and he recommended I send it to Aaron Sangenitto for carving. We spoke I sent him my pendant design and we plotted it shape and design. I loved his suggested carving concept and I asked if he could facet it as well.

 

MORE >

Dalan Hargrave - 125 ct frog carved out of Oregon Sunstone

 

This 125 carat frog was carved out of Oregon Sunstone by Dalan Hargrave as part of a multi-stone "Frog Prince" entry that won a first place Cutting Edge award in the 218 AGTA Spectrum Awards. Dalan has been working with Oregon Sunstone for decades and his work is featured on this site.

 

Towards the end of the 2017 mining season, Ales Patrick Krivanek, owner of PANA Mine contacted me about a very large and clean piece of Oregon Sunstone rough that weighed approx. 400 carats with great clarity and interesting shades of color.

 

MORE >

types & colors

All featured gems were mined by Ales Patrick Krivanek at PANA Mine, 2016-2018, and precision faceted by Ravenstein Gem Co (EU, USA), Douglas Mulling (USA), Craig Oliveira (USA), and Robert Coggins (USA). Images by © Katerina Krivanek. All rights reserved.

mines

It is truly remarkable how kind, ambitous, and productive the small Oregon Sunstone mining community has been over the past few decades. Visit the mining page to learn about all the current options for wholesale and retail supplies as well is fee digging and child friendly treasure hunting options.

jewelers

Jewelers that work with Oregon Sunstone are exceptionally talented, creative, and passionate artists. The various grades of Oregon Sunstone lend themselves to different, and equally important, sectors of the jewelry trade; from craft wire wraps, to haut couture red carpet pieces. We list some of the most well known and up in coming jewelers currently working with Oregon Sunstone on our Jewelers page.

cutters & carvers

Some of the most talented cutters and carvers in the EU and USA work with Oregon Sunstone. These masters of the trade take the lapidary arts to the next level with precision machinery and innovative designs. You can find many examples of their stunning work, as well as their contact information in our Cutter and Carvers section.

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FAQ

  • What is Oregon Sunstone?

    Oregon Sunstone is a copper bearing (cuprian) Labradorite of the Plagioclase-Feldspar mineral group. This gem consists of solution between anorthite (CaAl2Si2O8) and albite (NaAlSi3O8).

  • What is the difference between genuine Oregon Sunstone and common, cheap “Sunstone” from other sources?

    Most importantly, Oregon Sunstone is colored by copper therefore “cuprian” or “copper bearing”. For example rare Paraiba Tourmaline is colored by copper. Unlike its cheap counterparts Oregon Sunstone can exhibit much sought-after copper schiller.

    Oregon Sunstone belongs to Labradorite-Feldspar group of minerals in triclinic crystal structure and biaxial-positive optical properties, while common Sunstone from other locations belongs to Oligoclase-Feldspar mineral species in monoclinic crystal structure and biaxial-negative optical properties.

    Genuine Oregon Sunstone will also have a substantially higher refractive index in 1.560 to 1.585 range compared to their cheap Oligoclase counterparts in only 1.520 to 1.560 range.

    A higher hardness of 6.5 to 7.2 also separates Oregon Sunstone from it’s common and inexpensive counterparts from India and elsewhere. Lastly, genuine Oregon Sunstone is found in a nearly limitless range and blends of colors, from light gold and champagne thru pink, peach and orange to red, green and blue, both with and without copper schiller. Common cheap Sunstone is NOT…

  • "But it's only a Feldspar!" ...or is it?

     It's only a Feldspar is something any Oregon Sunstone enthusiast has heard all too often in discussions, both friendly and business alike.  And until there is more education about this rare and extremely unique gemstone this is something that will continually have to be rebutted.  Can you imagine via this perspective a Sapphire dealer constantly hearing, "But it's only a Corundum!"?  Or a Siberian Demantoid dealer regularly being told, "But it's only a Garnet!"?  Or an Emerald dealer hearing, "But it's only a piece of Beryllium ore!"?

     

    As you can see using the above examples, a gemstone's uniqueness and value is not inextricably woven and detracted by the common mineral group it belongs to.  Oregon Sunstone  absolutely belongs in the upper echelon of it's mineral designation which just so happens to be Feldspar.  Just as Sapphire's, Demantoid's, and Emerald's belong in the upper echelon of their designated mineral classifications.

     

    Oregon Sunstone has two predominate factors that completely separate it into an entirely different class than its Feldspar relatives.

    1. It is the rarest high quality copper bearing gemstone in the world.  Another being Paraiba  and Copper-Bearing Tourmaline but it however is found in multiple localities.  Oregon Sunstone is found in only one locality on Earth —Southern Oregon.
    2. It has a rare unique quality of being color shifting…properly called Dichroism and Pleochroism.  The color can shift from green to red and/or all shades of teal blue to red/pink/orange, etc.  Some Oregon Sunstone crystals show different color on each of the gemstone’s three axis. And it sometimes can be infused with visible copper particles giving the beautiful glowing "Schiller" sparkling effect to the stones. Not to mention the range of colors varies from peach/pink/orange/yellow/champagne and all different shades of green, teal blue, and red from light to dark.  And just to be clear not all stones are dichroic. They can be found with only one predominate color i.e. all red, all green, all teal blue, all orange, etc, etc...

     

    The potential of Oregon Sunstone is absolutely phenomenal within jewelry applications.  From affordable to the red carpet.  In fact Oregon Sunstone has already received more than its fair share of jewelry industry awards and accolades by designers and faceters alike.

     

    And with it still being so relatively unknown and misunderstood in the market to the point that it still garners the, "But it's just a Feldspar!" moniker....we believe it is only a matter of time when this saying will no longer be said.

     

    Just as no one says anything of the like in relation to Sapphires, Emeralds, and Demantoids.

  • What is schiller?

    Schiller is a light reflection effect caused by millions of microscopic copper particles/crystals suspended within the Oregon Sunstone gemstone. John Aldrich, owner of Double Eagle mine describes Schiller as a "phenomenon" which is, in my own opinion, a very true and spot-on description and definition of copper schiller. Many people describe copper schiller as an "inclusion". This is actually quite misleading in case of Oregon Sunstone. By definition, Inclusion is an unwanted and/or undesirable impurity in a gemstone. Inclusions and other imperfections like fractures, feathers, veils, and bubbles  typically lower the value of a gemstone. In sharp contrary to that, schiller is an essential part of many Oregon Sunstone crystals and in most cases it actually adds value and beauty to the gemstone.  To avoid or at least limit heated discussions we simply declare clarity of a Oregon Sunstone using the standard GIA diamond clarity scale. IF the Sunstone has schiller we simply declare gemstone clarity and then ADD the schiller type and it’s intensity (as described in this guide). For example: copper-bearing Oregon Sunstone, VVS1 with A (-1) copper schiller. VVS1 is a standard GIA clarity grade between IF and VVS2 and A (-1) is schiller grading developed by Ales Patrick Krivanek and featured in this guide. We hope that this new, logical and easy to master copper schiller grading will be adopted and used by others. We are open to suggestions on how to further improve or simplify Oregon Sunstone clarity and schiller grading. Please send your comments and suggestions to info@OregonSunstoneGuide.com

    There are many types and intensities of copper schiller described in detail in this Guide.

  • How does schiller affects the value of Oregon Sunstone?

    The rule of thumb is that light to medium intensity schiller is more valuable compared to overly strong or weak types. Shiny schiller which reflect light strongly is preferred to it’s dimmer or “sleepy” types. Detailed comparison can be found in this Guide.

  • What causes the different colors in Oregon Sunstone?

    Most Oregon Sunstone is colored by copper (therefore “copper-bearing” or “cuprian”) similar to another rare and highly valued gemstone which is the Paraiba Tourmaline. Gems showing strong red  to green / blue-teal dichroic or pleochroic shift and watermelon Oregon Sunstone is colored by nanocrystals of Protoenstatite and Clinoenstatite in association with copper. For more information about Protoenstatite click HERE.

  • What is the rarest type and color of Oregon Sunstone?

    There are many variables affecting the value of this unique gemstone. The basic 4Cs (carat weight, clarity, color and quality of cut) are not sufficient in case of Oregon Sunstone. When it comes to color a simple answer that all vivid, richly saturated colors are very rare with red, green and blue (usually with a slight hint of green or teal) being the most valued. Type and intensity of schiller can add or rather reduce the gems value. In most cases the gem showing color are more valued without schiller compared to those with schiller. Detailed description can be found right in this Guide.

  • Which mine produces the best stones?

    All commercial Oregon Sunstone mines produce extraordinary and highly valued gems. We urge you to do your own research and contact mine owners directly to find out which ones will fit your exact gemstone needs. It is the very purpose of this Guide to maximize and to simplify your research. Please visit the individual mine profiles in Mines & Miners.

  • What is Oregon Sunstone hardness?

    Hardness of this gemstone varies between 6.5 and 7.0 Mohs. Hardness of Oregon Sunstone is similar to or larger than Amethyst, Tourmaline, Kunzite, Peridot, Tanzanite, Citrine, color change Diaspore, Opal, Garnet, Iolite, etc, therefore suitable for jewelry wear.

  • Is Oregon Sunstone suitable for jewelry wear?

    Oregon Sunstone is easy to set in precious metals like silver, gold and platinum. Being America’s rarest and most beautiful gemstone with unparalleled color varieties making each gem an original, and the fact that this gem is not found anywhere else in the world, Oregon Sunstone is becoming increasingly popular as a Diamond alternative in anniversary rings, bridal sets, and engagement rings. If you want a truly rare and original 100% American gemstone, the Oregon Sunstone is the answer!

  • What is Oregon Sunstone’s average cutting yield?

    Based on my own experience the yield ranges anywhere between 3% and 40%. It is safe to say that well shaped piece of rough without major clarity issues will give you around 25% to 30% yield. Strongly dichroic, pleochroic, watermelon or gems showing color banding will affect yield because of a very specific orientation required in order to achieve best results. In such cases the yield might drop down to 15% to 25%.

  • Is there a problem with cleavage when faceting this gemstone?

    Cleavage usually gives no trouble when preforming, faceting and polishing this gemstone. Simply orient your gemstone for best color, schiller effect (if present) and yield.

  • Must I remove all clear material when faceting Oregon Sunstone?

    No, it is absolutely not necessary (nor required or recommended) to remove clear material typically surrounding a colored core (bulls eye). For best results position the color in tip of the pavilion and/or keep below girdle line. This way you will retain much more weight and show the amazing “sunstone” effect when observing the gemstone from different angles because the colored core will nicely blend into the remaining clear material. Only if you want to achieve 100% color even saturation when observing from all sides and angles, remove all excessive clear material and leave only the colored portion in your preform.

  • Is Oregon Sunstone suitable for investment purposes?

    Yes, absolutely! Some trade members are reluctant to say so or to even admit to this simple fact but there are dozens of great examples from recent history. Most gems earned a very solid 20% to 5,000%++ annually. Most natural untreated gems can be a great investment if you keep the following in mind:



    1. Purchase at the source. Buying directly from the mine will guarantee you the lowest price available. Note that each mine has its own wholesale and retail pricing structures. A little bit of research will help you find the best deal!
    2. Buy the best quality you can afford. When choosing your purchases, consider clarity, color, and quality of cut.
    3. Consider purchasing in quantity, and always ask for a volume discount. Most miners and dealers give volume discounts to customers that buy multiple stones at the same time. If possible, try to purchase one large parcel of stones for multiple investors. This approach will give you the best chances of maximizing your returns.
    4. Only buy from reputable sources. Since Oregon Sunstone is mined in the United States, it is highly unlikely that you will get a better price by purchasing from an overseas seller. Be aware of the numerous imposter stones described by Robert James (International School of Gemology). Never forget that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

     

    Oregon Sunstone is still a very new gemstone on the international market and it’s value will increase substantially over the next decade. See Types & Colors for detailed information.

Oregon Sunstone Guide logo
  • Most Oregon Sunstone is colored by copper (therefore “copper-bearing” or “cuprian”) similar to another rare and highly valued gemstone which is the Paraiba Tourmaline. Gems showing strong red  to green / blue-teal dichroic or pleochroic shift and watermelon Oregon Sunstone is colored by nanocrystals of Protoenstatite and Clinoenstatite in association with copper. For more information about Protoenstatite click HERE.

Oregon Sunstone Guide logo
Oregon Sunstone Guide logo

pana mine

 

 

MINE OWNER:

ALES P. KRIVANEK

 

double eagle mine

 

 

MINE OWNERS:

JOHN & DEBBIE ALDRICH

ROBIN CALAHAN

 

 

ROBIN CALLAHAN DESIGNS

(USA)

KARLA PROUD

 

 

EXOTIC GEMSTONES LLC

(USA)

DALAN HARGRAVE

 

 

GEMSTARZ JEWELRY

(USA)

LISA FUENTEZ MOORE

 

 

LEALA JEWELERS

(USA)

LYNNE BIGLER MERCEIN

 

 

LYNNE MERCEIN HANDCRAFTED  FINE JEWELRY

(USA)

DALAN HARGRAVE

 

 

GEMSTARZ JEWELRY

(USA)

AARON SANGENITTO

 

 

FLESH AND STONE STUDIOS

(USA)

JOHN DYER

 

 

JOHN DYER GEMS

(USA)

DAVID KEMPNY

 

 

DAVID KEMPNY

(CZECH REPUBLIC)

TROY RICHARDSON

 

 

EXCESSDESIGN

(USA)

DARRYL ALEXANDER

 

 

ALEXANDERS JEWELERS

(USA)

JASON DELK

 

 

GEM CUTTER USA

(USA)

CRAIG OLIVEIRA

 

 

FLIPFLOP MINER

(USA)

Derek katzenbach

 

 

KATZENBACH DESIGNS

(USA)