From the Oregon sunstone, Aztec sunstone to the illustrious and mysterious Viking sunstone, the sunstone has occupied an important place in geological history for centuries. Discover what sunstones are, its meaning and healing properties.
What Are Sunstone Crystals?
Sunstone crystals refer to a type of feldspar that is commonly transparent. Polished sunstone gems produce bright flashes that are mainly metallic in appearance (which is uncommon in the gem world). The reason for these striking flashes is that sunstones naturally develop internal inclusions that are plate-like in appearance. These inclusions naturally reflect light with enough intensity that sunstone’s fire can match the fire of much more expensive gemstones. The secret to the bright metallic flashing is the orientation of the plate-like inclusions. The joint angle grants the stone the ability to maximize luminescence when it interacts with light.
Keep in mind that other minerals have also been called sunstones because of their natural aventurescence (a visual effect found in different crystals). Morphologically, these were still types of feldspar, but a different chemical composition, like plagioclase feldspars. The visual effect of sunstones can be seen when the observer moves (the line of sight changes), when the light moves, or when the stone itself is moved to another position.
Sunstones are often cut and polished as cabochons to enhance their appearance and visual effects. Sunstone crystals are sought after by designers who want to use nonconventional gemstones for their designs. It’s not every day that we see commercial jewelry or fine jewelry with polished sunstones, so if ever you do see them, make sure to take a good look to appreciate their unique physical attributes.
What Color Is the Sunstone Crystal?
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Sunstones can occur in a variety of colors. As with anything that has been formed naturally, sunstone specimens feature an entire spectrum of colors, starting from the nearly colorless ones to deep red.
Sunstone color is within the red-orange spectrum, so expect some yellowish-red ones, orange sunstones, and deep red sunstone crystals. What changes and deepens the color of sunstones is the availability of copper in the crystals’ internal structure. In sporadic instances, sunstones can also occur in blue or even highly saturated green. Variations will occur, and stones mined from the same locale can still produce different saturations of the same range of colors.
Sunstones are versatile, and depending on the quality and cut, they can fit almost any kind of jewelry budget. You can purchase less expensive sunstone jewelry that still exhibits the great fire and aventurescence that this feldspar is known for.
Smaller sunstone cabochons can easily be purchased for $50 or less. However, if you are looking for something fancier, there are bicolor sunstone specimens with much higher quality. These are the pricier specimens that can fetch $1000 or more in the market.
Why Is It Also Called the Oregon Sunstone?
The most splendid locale inspires the name Oregon sunstone for mining commercial quality sunstone in the United States. A handful of the available deposits in this state are still being used today to mine commercially viable sunstones for different uses. The strategic basalt flows in Harney County and Lake County have contributed to the abundance of this mineral in Oregon. Sometimes, the sunstone deposits are located directly above the said basalt flows. In other instances, they occur directly on the basalt flows.
Other sunstones in history are of note. The Aztec sun stone is not made from the mineral but is regarded as an ancient cultural icon. The Aztecs are responsible for carving the Aztec sunstone. It is currently housed in an anthropological museum located in Mexico City. The massive basalt plate contains many glyphs and symbols from a culture that was well ahead of its time. The Aztec sunstone is massive and has a length of 141 inches.
On the other hand, the Viking sunstone is an ancient navigational tool that was probably made well over a thousand years ago. It was an invention of the Vikings, the Nordic people, but it was not mainly made of the sunstone that we know now. According to scientists, the likely mineral that the Vikings used as calcite. Calcite was capable of depolarizing light, which helped the Vikings get highly accurate readings. This was a boon to seafarers back in the day when the clouds hid the Sun. The change in the crystal’s orientation was affected by light activity even on the cloudiest of days.
Sunstone Properties / Sunstone Meaning
As the name implies, sunstones are linked with the Sun (as its main celestial body). All sun-oriented crystals are naturally warm and provide happiness and joy to people. Sunstones are also naturally energizing, which means they can help you get back on track if you feel anxious or depressed as of late. You can also use a sunstone to improve your grip on reality and life to overcome the darkness within you. The ‘darkness’ that we speak of is part of the natural balance of energies and life. However, the balance between light and darkness must be maintained. Otherwise, disease and unhappiness can take place. If this happens, unique healing crystals like the sunstone can help bring you back on track.
Sunstones can help set intentions so that you can focus your energies on pursuing passions and the things that you want in life. This has an instant healing effect on the mind and the spirit, two domains that are usually left behind in our desire to work and survive modern life. The sunstone connects with the heart chakra and is capable of physically healing the heart as well. It has a powerful connection with all the chakras of the body and may well be used to remove any blockages that may have occurred. If you feel cold and underpowered as of late, you may need to use a sunstone more often.