Oregon Sunstone is a unique and often underrated stone when it comes to jewellery. Since being used by high end jewellery brands such as BVLA, it has become a favourite amongst piercers and piercing enthusiasts alike. So where does this stone originate, what is it’s history and what makes it so beautiful? I’m sure you can answer at least one of those questions!
Oregon sunstone is a feldspar, or crystal-forming mineral, that is found in Oregon, USA. In fact, it was declared the official state stone of Oregon in 1987. It is produced from shallow mines in two counties and is hard enough to be carved, polished and faceted for jewellery. Historically, the local Native American Tribes have a legend describing its origins. In the legend, the blood of a great warrior –who is wounded by an arrow – spatters onto pieces of sunstone. The blood carried his warrior spirit into the stones, coloring them with shades of red and giving them sacred power. Native American tribes traded this stone across most of Western America and it can be found in many museum collections as a result.
Oregon Sunstone originally formed in Basalt lava flows in aggregations called “Phenocrysts,” which are large collections of a crystal surrounded by glassy igneous rock. It is in the same ‘family’ as Labradorite and is fast becoming a highly popular stone with jewellers. The Oregon Sunstone found in body jewellery is often transparent and can be cut into a multitude of different facet styles. Oregon Sunstone can be shades of pink, tan, orange, yellow, green, blue-green, red, and clear as well as bi-colors. This colour is caused by unique inclusions of copper within the crystal structure, which causes a visual effect called “Schiller,” which gives the stone an almost champagne bubble-like appearance. These copper inclusions are flat, plate-shaped, highly reflective, and precisely aligned along the crystallographic axis of the stone. The “shimmer” seen in Oregon Sunstone is called aventurescence by gemologists and jewellery experts. Traditionally in body jewellery, Oregon sunstone is selected in pink to tan-orange shades which complement Yellow and Rose Gold.
At Rogue we currently have two pieces containing Oregon Sunstone as shown in the photos included in this article. Currently the only high-end body jewellery brand using this stone is BVLA, which is renowned for its highly customisable bespoke jewellery. If you have any ideas for how you would like to use this gem in a piece of jewellery, do get in contact with us and we would be happy to help you get your ideas set into gold.