American Gemstones: Oregon has Opal, Sunstone, and More

On this blog, birthstones and astrological stones have been featured. I thought it might be interesting to think about birthplace stones of the USA for those who would like jewelry from the state they were born in or currently live in.  I could have started with any of the 50 states, I chose Oregon because a new gemstone was found there in the last year.

OPAL - Most of us think of Australian, Ethiopian, or Mexican when we hear someone say opal because we think or color-play or fire opals.  However, there are common opals (aka potch) found in Peru and the USA.  Recently a new color of common opal was found in Oregon, where other colors exist.  This new peach color was bought by and featured on ShopLC. Below is part 2 of ShopLC approximate 3-4 minutes each 3-video series on peach opal, as it is mostly about the stone.  If desired, you can also watch part 1 about the mining family and part 3 the after-mining processes.  The above mine find also produces a variety of pink opal.  Some Oregon mines produce common blue and blue jelly opals as well.

SUNSTONE - Another gem of Oregon is the feldspar called Sunstone.  This is typically a transparent to translucent stone that ranges from clear to yellow to orange background with goldish glitter inside. Thus the name sunstone because the colors and glow of the sun. Sunstone is sometimes confused with peach moonstone or goldstone.   The easiest way to tell the difference from its sister stone of moonstone is that glitter will be in sunstone whereas moonstone has more of a schiller.  The difference in sunstone and goldstone is the latter is opaque (more of a solid background color but with glitter).  Other Oregon gemstones that range from transparent to translucent include varieties of amethyst and garnet.

MORE - Besides opal, opaque stones also used in jewelry from Oregon include agate, jade, jasper, obsidian, and rhyolite. These are typically set as large cabochons or made into beads. Other collector stones not often used in jewelry include fossilized/petrified wood and geodes referred to as Thunder Eggs or thunderstones.  Find out more about collecting OR stones at Gold Rush Nuggets or go to Geology.com for some great photos.

If you are a rock hound and interested in finding out about mining your own stones, check out Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.  If you are more into rock collecting than gemstones, check out pictures from the Minerals from OR Museum.  Find more on rock-hounding and the OR state rock (thunderstone) and gemstone (sunstone) on Gator Girl Rocks.


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