Meaning and Properties


Sunstone began as a costly and little-known gemstone until deposits were found in Norway and Siberia. This gemstone has a special history in the United States, however, where sunstone varieties called "heliolite" have been mined in Oregon. One particular sunstone was found in ancient lava fields of Warner Valley. According to native legend, a great warrior was wounded by an arrow and his blood dripped onto the stones. The spirit of this warrior was carried into the stones and colored them with beautiful tones of red while also imbuing the gems with sacred power.

Metaphysical Properties

Since "sun" is in this gemstone's name, it's no surprise sunstone is associated with the radiance of the sun and the energy it produces to sustain life. Sunstone is said to be a stone of leadership, encouraging the wearer to be open, benevolent and willing to bestow blessings upon others. Also known as a stone of joy, sunstone is believed to inspire good nature and an enjoyment of life. According to metaphysical beliefs, sunstone is highly effective in cleansing auras and chakras. Sunstone is predominantly associated with the Base and Sacral Chakras.

Geological Properties

Sunstone gems belong to the feldspar group, which encompasses a large variety of gemstone materials--including moonstone and amazonite. The sparkly metallic glitter in this particular feldspar is called aventurescence, which is caused by flat, reflective inclusions (sometimes called "schiller"). These inclusions can be hematite, copper or other minerals. Larger inclusions tend to be more glittery while small inclusions create a red or gold sheen on top of the stone's natural color. Not all sunstones contain aventurescence.

Deposits of sunstone have been found in India, Canada, South Norway and Russia. Sunstone has also been discovered in the United States, with deposits found in Oregon, where it is the official state gemstone. Most of the sunstone available through Fire Mountain Gems and Beads is from India.

Mineral Information Sodium calcium aluminum silicate, Feldspar group
Chemical Composition Na(AlSi3O8)Ca(Al2Si2O8)
Color Orange-red/brown
Hardness 6 to 6-1/2 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.62 - 2.65
Refractive Index 1.532 - 1.542

Proper Care of Sunstone

Feldspars, including sunstone, do not react well to harsh cleaners such as bleach and should not be used in ultrasonic or steam cleaners. Exposure to sudden high heat is not recommended. The best method to clean sunstone is to simply use warm, soapy water. Ensure the stone and any jewelry settings are thoroughly dry before storing. Store sunstones away from other harder gemstones that could cause scratching along the surface.

To learn more about sunstone and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Sunstone

Sunstone, with its rich, earthy red-orange tones, works great in settings of all metal tones. You can't go wrong pairing sunstone with silver, gold, rose gold, copper or other metals. Pair with moonstone to draw attention to the schiller flash in both of these feldspar minerals. Create a complementary color scheme for high contrast and drama by pairing sunstone with emerald green and lapis lazuli blue. Analogous color schemes call for lemon quartz, citrine, carnelian, ruby reds and a splash of deep purple such as amethyst or tanzanite. The resulting palette is perfect for fall jewelry designs.

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