Protect your Oregon Sunstone as you would any one-of-a-kind, rare, collectible treasure. The Sunstone Store has many years of experience in all phases of a Sunstone’s journey; from mining, designing, making, and repairing. The care instructions in this article are based on over twenty-five years working with this gem, which is only found in Oregon. Following the recommendations for care outlined below, will result in many years of wearing enjoyment.
Professional Inspection & Cleaning
The Sunstone Store recommends having a professional cleaning done at your trusted local jewelry store. It is usually done while you wait. Most jewelry stores offer this service for free to make you a loyal customer for life! Cleaning & inspection should be done at least once every 2 years. Once per year can’t hurt, especially if you start to see the gemstone looking dull & lifeless or if you have a sunstone ring which is more prone to collecting dirt & debris in all the crevices of the ring.
The professional cleaning process will typically consist of soaking the ring in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove oils, dirt & grime build up. You will be amazed at the difference it makes to the brilliance of your Sunstone! The inspection process should include having your prongs checked under magnification for signs of wear.
Gold & Silver are not indestructible! Prongs on a ring will often need to be repaired, which involves building them up by adding metal as they get thin from wear. This is also called “retipping”. This kind of repair can easily result after five years of constant enjoyment. Earrings & pendants hardly ever need repair work but can benefit by a good thorough cleaning.
Durability & Hardness
Sunstones are slightly above average for hardness at 6.5 to 7 with 10 being hardest. However, Sunstones cleave in two directions which give them a low “toughness” rating. Sunstone set into rings are the hardest to preserve. The wear & tear is very high for rings. I recommend Sunstone rings be best worn “occasionally”. However, I know many women that are very conscientious, remembering to remove it if they anticipate doing something with their hands that may damage the gem.
There are absolutely no gemstones on planet earth that are indestructible. Diamonds have a hardness rating that is at the top of the scale and not easily damaged. Any other gemstone lower on the hardness scale can be scratched and chipped, including Oregon Sunstone. Depending on your lifestyle and the amount of care you feel you want to take with your jewelry, a Sunstone Ring may not be right for you. In this case, earrings and necklaces will be a low maintenance choice and one that will allow you to be completely relaxed about wearing.
Best Ways to Mount Sunstone Into Jewelry or Things to Consider Before Purchasing
1. In a Ring: Sunstones are best protected if they are set into a Bezel Style ring mounting. However, I set many Sunstones in Tiffany Style rings with prongs. The key is to set them lower than what is commonly done. Sunstones should be set low in the setting, not highly elevated. The lower height at least minimizes hooking & snagging that often happens with a Tiffany style ring. Some women are able to wear taller setting quite successfully. It depends a lot on their lifestyle & the precautions taken to protect the ring.
2. In a Pendant/Earrings: Sunstones set into pendants & earrings are the best choice for Sunstones. This is especially true for rarer colors that will be nearly impossible to replace if damaged. It doesn’t matter so much (as it would for a ring) as to how the Sunstone is set (bezel or prong).
In a Bracelet: Sunstones set into bracelets are one of my favorite ways to mount them into jewelry.
3. Cuff Style: I recommend setting the gem into a “cuff” style bracelet rather than a “line” type bracelet. The cuff style will maintain the positioning of the gem so that it is on top of the wrist where it is less likely to be damaged.
Linked Style: or line bracelet can rotate on the wrist so that the gems end up facing down where they can be bashed against hard surfaces like a countertop, table or desktop.
How to do a home cleaning? A home cleaning can keep your jewelry sparkling in between the “professional cleaning & inspection”. An inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner can be purchased that will keep your Sunstone sparkling clean. The machine simply vibrates dirt & oils out from under the setting. A capful of sudsy ammonia in the warm water bath receptacle strips away grime easily & efficiently. Be prepared to spend at least $50 or more for one that works well. You can safely clean your Sunstone jewelry as often as needed to maintain its beauty.
WARNING: Do not put multiple pieces of jewelry into the ultrasonic. They will vibrate against each other & damage it.
How do I clean my jewelry without an Ultrasonic Cleaner? If you don’t have an ultrasonic cleaner, you can reach tough areas in the setting with a soft nylon toothbrush dipped in a mild dish soap. Never use toothpaste!
TIP: Keep the toothbrush in the shower to use when showering.
WARNING: Do not use abrasive cleaners: exfoliating scrubs, sandpaper, baking soda, toothpaste, cleaners.
What activities should I avoid when wearing my Sunstone Ring? In general, avoid wearing any gemstone ring 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. Avoid wearing your jewelry to the gym but…… dropping it into the gym bag is not a good idea. Put it into a soft pouch or baggy first. Wearing your ring while gardening is definitely a bad idea. Soil & rocks will abrade, scrape & scratch the gem easily. It’s a sure way to ruin the ring & the gem. Remove your rings when doing automotive maintenance or other hobbies that require the use of sandpaper or metal tools.
WARNING: Never wear your ring while using metal tools, while performing electrical work or in situations when it might be possible to snag or hook the ring.
Will my Sunstone’s color fade when exposed to sunlight? No! The color of your Oregon Sunstone is very stable & will not fade in sunlight or in warm or hot water.
Can I get my Oregon Sunstone wet? Yes! It’s okay to shower or bathe wearing your Sunstone. Just be careful to remove your Sunstone ring when washing dishes because it could sustain a blow or house cleaning which can expose it to harsh chemicals or metal cleaning implements that could scratch the gem.
Why is my sunstone losing it’s luster?
1 . Abrasions: Very light scratches that are not deep but still will affect the brilliance. Storing your jewelry improperly in the bottom of a gym bag or purse will certainly do this.
2. Grease & dirt build-up: Skin oils, hair spray, lotions. These will all affect brilliance. Light cannot be reflected off the polished surface of your Sunstone if it is layered with these products.
3. Scratches: Deeper, more visible lines on the surface.
Can my Sunstone be re-polished? I have had some success by re polishing the top of a Sunstone while mounted. This usually only works well with fine abrasions. It is a good way to breath some life into a battered Sunstone but it is not ideal. It does not work well for faceted stones & can only be done one time before the gem needs to be replaced entirely.
Can my broken Sunstone be replaced? This can usually be done without great difficulty. Bezel settings are the hardest settings to replace a Sunstone in, so the labor charge will be more than for replacement in a prong setting.
How should I store my Sunstone Jewelry when I’m not wearing it? Put your jewelry item in a soft pouch or a jewelry box by itself. Never store multiple pieces in a pouch or container. They will bump into each other; scratching & damaging will most certainly happen.
In conclusion, Oregon Sunstones are considered rare. There is NOT an infinite supply of these gems! Red and Green colors are extremely rare. This is a great gemstone for gem collectors because it occurs in a variety of colors, combinations of color and with or without Schiller. It is hard to find two gems that are identical! Propper care for your Oregon Sunstone will reward you with many years of enjoyment.