A Little Bit About Oregon Sunstones

A Little Bit About Oregon Sunstones

Oregon Sunstones are only found in a few spots in South Central Oregon, and they can range from colorless to peachy orange to red and green...they can even be bicolored. Oregon Sunstones are in the feldspar family and are related to labradorite and moonstone.  We offer some Oregon Sunstone jewelry that is found and handmade by Will Macy. 

Diamond shaped Oregon Sunstone with shiller set in a fine and sterling silver bezel setting hanging on a chain.

Sunstones found in Oregon have a flash similar to moonstone and labradorite which is called shiller.  Shiller is caused from copper deposits that formed millions of years ago from a volcanic eruption in Eastern Oregon.  To learn more about the science of Oregon Sunstones, check out this segment from OPB's episode of Oregon Field Guide (one of my favorite shows!).  

A view of Hart Mountain from the Oregon Sunstone Collection area near Plush, OR.

Of course you can buy Oregon Sunstone from various sellers and at rock and gemstone shows, but the best way to get sunstones is to go mine them yourself out in the desert of Southern Oregon. Our favorite place to dig for these gemstones is at the Spectrum Mine. Things we like about going here includes: 

  • You pay a fee to dig and get to keep all that you find. Some mines charge by weight & quality of what you find.  
  • They have running water and a bathroom for guests to use.  
  • You can dig in a pit, have a endloader bucket dumped for you to pick through, or you can do what's called a belt run.  All of these options have their pros & cons and vary in price, but you can find some amazing stones! 
  • The offer onsite camping and even have a few (very) rustic cabins you can rent.  

A bag full of raw Oregon sunstones we collected at the Spectrum Mine near Plush, OR.

A few things to remember when driving out to the Oregon Sunstone Collection area. 

  • There is a FREE Oregon Sunstone collection area with free camping. You can dig and even pick up sunstones right off the ground.  
  • Take plenty of provisions!  This is in the middle of nowhere with very few people around. And, bring plenty of drinking water. 
  • Make sure your vehicle has good tires and plenty of gas.  To get to the sunstone collection area, you have to drive at least 20 miles on gravel roads.  
  • For camping, make sure you dress in layers.  Daytime can be very hot, but it also gets really cold at night.  
  • There is very little cell phone coverage in this area. Be warned! 

In closing, hunting for Oregon Sunstones can be a fun family adventure. It can also be hot, dirty, and hard work.  Either way, hopefully you will go home with some gem quality stones that can be cut for jewelry!  Good luck & happy hunting! 

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