Killer Schiller! OR Sunstone Madness

Have you been bit by the Sunstone bug? You didn’t know there was such a thing, you say? OR you know what I’m talking about and are nodding to yourself. I was resistant to get into them since they seem, dare I say, trendy in Oregon. Thunder Eggs were that way, they actually turned out to be pretty addictive to work with. This Sunstone thing, ugh, the tip of the iceberg has been scratched an it’s all shiny and brilliant inside.


I found a basket of little baggies of Sunstones in the strangest of places on a rockhounding expedition in Central Oregon. They were all the clear, easy ones to find (I think) so I opted to purchase a grab bag so I may practice lapping them. We are planning the bucket-list adventure to go find some of our own at the end of this Summer and I’m itching to work with them.


Looking at these little rough guys, it is easy to keep the expectations low. Everyone has seen pictures of the good red ones online (check them out if you haven’t), but those are only a small portion of what’s out there. The Sunstones are a Feldspar related to Labradorite and Moonstone. They are desirable not only because they polish to a brilliant clarity but also the ‘schiller’ factor. This is what knocked my socks off when polishing.


One of my very first stones to open up had Thread Schiller or pink inclusions of Copper floating on planes through the Champagne colored stone. There was no looking back, I’m hooked on these dazzling guys. It was also surprising how easy the material worked on the lap machine so creating a simple facet design was a cakewalk. You can have your schiller and eat it too.

Another of the first batch was interesting because of the inclusion in the lower 1/3 that throws rainbows like some quartz inclusions. This piece has a plane of dispersed schiller that is very subtle but still adds inner light to the stone. The asymmetrical facet design mimics rays of light that are bolstered by 23.5k Gold Keum Boo laced on the Fine Silver Setting.


A better look at the facet detail by viewing backlit through the open backed setting. It was so much of a joy to work with this one, I can’t wait to get to the others not to mention hit the mine to see what turns up in the way of colors. Oregon is apparently the only location that Sunstone gets Copper in the world. We get colors of red, pink, green, and even blue along with different qualities and quantities of schiller. Stay tuned to see the next surprises coming off the jewelry bench with these fantastic Sunstones.