Oregon Sunstone was formed in the Ancient basalt lava flows. When the basalt weathered away the crystals were released. The gemstones come in a beautiful variety of natural colors, optical effects, and types. It was first sold as “Plush Diamonds” after the area it was found in (Plush, Oregon).
In 1987 Oregon Sunstone was named the official gemstone for the state of Oregon. Oregon Sunstone can also be listed as Andesine, or Red Labradorite, or even Feldspar. It’s in the group of a mineral called Feldspar. Some Oregon Sunstones contains slightly more sodium and less calcium.
The hardness of Oregon Sunstones ranges from 6.0 to 6.5 on the Mohs Scale. It’s a suitable for a wider variety of jewelry types because of its hardness rating. Oregon Sunstone is best suited for jewelry like pendants, earrings, brooches, and other pieces that won’t endure heavy wear. Dust alone has a hardness of 7 to 7.5 so it will scratch the material. Steel can scratch gems with a hardness of only 6.
Gemstones hardness means the ability to resist scratching. Hardness depends on the bonds that hold the atoms together within a crystal structure. In 1812 Friedrich Mohs established a reference scale of ten common mineral ranking in order of increasing hardness. Diamond being at 10 of hardness and Talc being at 1 which means even a fingernail will scratch it.
So an Oregon Sunstone hardness being at a 6.0 to 6.5 it shouldn’t be worn as a ring because it will scratch easily. Wearing it in a form in something light weight will be better for the gem. If it’s too heavy the gem will scratch and crack up into small minerals. The gem is in the middle range of the Mohs scale so it can be worn as a piece of jewelry but not anything big or too heavy. It should stay at a form of lightweight for safe up keeping and no scratches.
You can clean the gem with water, detergent, and a soft brush. You should avoid any mechanical cleaning due to its hardness range level. Oregon Sunstone is not treated so the appearance of the gem is caused naturally and cannot be removed. It naturally acquires coppers on its own. Oregon Sunstone is the only Feldspar sunstone with copper inclusions. This is a way to identify the characteristics.
Oregon Sunstones shows it’s natural beauty and is a rare gem. It’s mistaken easy but can be identified quickly by a few observations. With it many different natural colors and variety shapes and sizes. Just as for diamonds you should always look for the three C’s which is clarity, cut, color. It’s very important for the Oregon Sunstones to check for the three because of the unique gem itself.
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