One of the first recorded references to sunstone dates back to the early 1500's. Pope Clement VII was said to have worn a stone that had a golden spot, which moved in relation to the heavens. Sunstone generally ranges in color from pale yellow to orange to reddish-orange. Tiny platelets of metallic mineral inside the gemstone often give off a glittery effect as light moves across the stone.
Sunstone is the state stone of Oregon where many of the finest specimens are mined. They are a member of the feldspar group of mineral, specifically the plagioclase group. They are also found in Mexico, China, Namibia and Madagascar.
Lesser quality sunstones are often shaped in cabochons or made into beads. The finer qualities, especially those from Oregon, will lend themselves to faceting. In jewelry this stone is versatile and durable enough to be set in rings, earrings and pendants.
Sunstone is fairly durable, 6-7 on the Mohs Scale, and can be cleaned in an ultrasonic. It is always a little safer to use warm, soapy water and a soft brush to lessen the risk of damage when cleaning.