Oregon sunstone possesses characteristics which allow the gem to be cut and polished in a variety of methods, all of which only enhance its natural splendor. At 6.5 to 7.2 on the Moh's hardness scale, Sunstone competes favorably with Tanzanite, Topaz, Amethyst, Emerald, and other well-known gems.
Sunstone generally cuts easily, giving no trouble at any stage with any grit of lap. The occasional exception is the unraveling of a cleavage plane.
Reversing the travel of the lap and/or changing to a different grit lap will usually solve this rare problem.
The only other caution is that faces that fall close to a cleavage plane sometimes cut significantly faster than their neighbors, necessitating a careful touch.
Color in sunstone usually occurs in a bulls-eye pattern - a spot of color surrounded by a clear or light straw-colored rind.
The best color performance for faceted stones is achieved by focusing the available color at the culet of the stone and placing as much color as possible in the pavilion:
Such orientation will cause light that enters the crown to reflect through the color zone before exiting the stone.
Alternately, if the size and placement of the color zone permits, orient it beneath and parallel to the table:
After cutting with a 600 lap, sunstone typically produces a brilliant polish quickly and easily with cerium oxide paint on a dynalap or plexiglass lap. Prepolishing with a 1200 lap will allow even faster results.
Caring for your Sunstones and Sunstone jewelry is both simple and easy. Taking a little time to treat your stones properly can lead to years of satisfaction and delight.
Clean your Sunstones to maintain their beauty. Gems, particularly those in rings, can collect dust behind the gem. When cleaning your Sunstones, use water, a soft toothbrush, and gentle soap.
Avoid wearing gems during strenuous exercise. A well-placed blow could damage the beauty of the stone, so it is safest to store them while engaging in any activity where they might be subjected to high impact.
Sunstone is a gemstone for all ages; that, with proper care, can be passed down for generations to come.