Saturday, 18 July 2020

Oregon Sunstone - 'Plush Diamonds'

In Central Oregon, local artists search for a gemstone that Tiffany & Co. in New York City dubbed the “Plush Diamond.” That would be Oregon Sunstone. Oregon Sunstone forms in molten lava on the earth’s surface. Once the lava weathers away, the feldspar crystals are visible. Central Oregon is one of the few places that produces a gem-grade feldspar.

The value of the stones varies depending on color. Stones that remain the champagne color after they’re cut are about $20 per carat. Teal green stones, which are the rarest, can be as valuable as $1,000 per carat.
Sunstones were named the state’s gemstone in 1987.Looking for “Plush diamonds” isn’t easy. From Memorial Day to early fall, people make their way to the remote area, using shovels, pry bars, pick axes and wire screens to search for sunstones. Bureau of Land Management lands offer a seven-square-mile area with free public digging, but most of the hunting is done on private claims.