Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sun Catcher

The name Sunstone has become rather a "catch-all" word for a broad range of attractive gemstones from the feldspar family of minerals.

Aventurine feldspar has become one of the most popular gemstones among artisan jewelers owing to its unique internal properties as contrasted to solid color gemstones; you'll never exactly see the same Sunstone twice.

Suspended inside every Sunstone are miniature metallic platelets that reflect a glittering light back to the eye of the viewer. This capability is called schiller.

Gemstone carver Sherris Shank takes into consideration the entire configuration of these brilliant platelets when carving her gemstones, shown here. Notice that several areas of the finished carving seem free of the shimmery bits contributing an extra element of design to her free-form artistic stone.

One of the most desirable deposits for elegant Oregon Sunstone is Desert Sun Mining and the Ponderosa Mine in Oregon. Popular gemstone author Renee Newman, in her book Exotic Gems Volume 1, sorts out the different types of Sunstone for collectors. Because a seasoned or novice jewelry lover may not know the difference between Sunstone, goldstone, or imitation glass containing minute copper platelets. "The color, clarity and transparency of Oregon Sunstones are natural; in other words, they have not been heated or clarity enhanced. Top grade red or green transparent Oregon Sunstones can retail for more than $1,000 per carat," Newman explains.

Besides their beauty and the artistic impression they give, jewelry lovers will always be glad to know their individual Sunstone jewel is an original made by nature.

Sunstone photo by Amy Balthrop; Courtesy of Sherris Shank.

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