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Jewel School 2- Oregon Sunstone

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!

This BVLA Mini Kandy really shows off the “champagne bubble” effect that copper inclusions can give to Oregon Sunstone. Shop here!

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.

This BVLA Beaded Pear in Yellow Gold really demonstrates the potential that this gem holds when it comes to statement jewellery.

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.

This bead of Oregon Sunstone displays highly visible copper inclusions.

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.

Remember to follow us on facebook and instagram for more information on piercing and the jewellery we have available! Don’t hesitate to message us any questions you may have.

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High Quality? Part 5 – Coatings

Coatings have been a controversial subject in the body piercing industry for a long time. There are two general categories for coatings and they are described by their application method, PVD and Plating.

PVD

PVD stands for Physical Vapour Deposition. This means that a cloud of vapour droplets is created and the jewellery is placed inside so that the droplets build up on the surface. This method can lead to a porous surface that is easily chipped or can absorb body fluids. A chipped coating can create an edge which will irritate a piercing through friction, it will also expose the metal underneath and as the vast majority of PVD coated jewellery is low quality metal this can lead to metal sensitivities.

A PVD coated BCR

The vast majority of PVD coated jewellery manufacturers do not tell us what chemicals are in the coating so it is assumed to be unsafe at it hasn’t been proven safe. The burden of proof falls with manufacturers and historical data isn’t good enough as some coatings can be toxic. PVD is generally used for colours that anodising can’t create (Red, Black and White).

At Rogue we don’t sell PVD coated jewellery as it hasn’t been proven safe but we will endeavour to find jewellery in other materials to match the colours you require.

Plating

Plated finishes are applied to jewellery using electricity through a process known as electroplating. Again knowing the jewellery is plated is only half of the information required as the material coating is just as important. Plated jewellery tends to be of higher quality and made from safer materials but this isn’t always true. A common plating used for lighter and darker finishes is Rhodium. Rhodium falls under the same category of safety as Gold as it has been used in traditional jewellery making for a long time.

A Rhodium coated Azval by BVLA
(keep an eye out for this piece in Aiden’s septum)

Plated coatings can wear down over time but a jeweller will be able to re-apply the coating if required.

At Rogue we sell plated jewellery where we know the metal quality underneath and the coating material and will explain to our customers that over time the plating will wear.

At Rogue we are big fans of solid jewellery that will keep its shine and lustre for a lifetime. We try our best to avoid coatings to protect our customers but are willing to order in plated pieces as long as the client is aware that the coating will need to be re-applied in time.

Next week’s blog will be all about Initial Vs Healed jewellery and the importance of choosing the piece for the moment.

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Hello Nottingham!

Hello! We’ll be setting up shop in Nottingham’s Lace Market soon. We’re excited to bring your jewellery and piercing desires to reality. It’s going to be a little while while we build a new studio and get everything up to our high standards so for now here’s something from our portfolio to whet your appetite.

Hello! Anatometal White Opal Cluster made from implant grade Titanium, anodised to a Golden Yellow finish in a Conch Ring
Anatometal White Opal Cluster made from implant grade Titanium, anodised to a Golden Yellow finish in a Conch Ring