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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Labradorite Sunstone

Fancy-cut labradorite sunstone weighing 60.3 ct.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11431-00
Locality Dust Devil Mine, Oregon, United States
Weight 60.3 ct

Gift of Donald Buford in 2012.

The minerals in the feldspar family make up more than half of the Earth’s crust. Occasionally these common minerals form crystals that have an optical phenomenon called aventurescence or schiller. Sunstones exhibit a reddish to golden sheen called schiller, resulting from light reflecting off numerous tiny copper or hematite (iron oxide) flakes scattered within the stones. The inclusions in this sunstone are copper. To date, Oregon is the only place in the world where gem quality sunstones containing copper inclusions are found. This fancy cut sunstone, faceted by renowned cutter Larry Winn, was donated by Donald Buford in 2012.



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