Sunstone has always fascinated throughout the ages. It has been appreciated for many properties related to its warm orange colour. In ancient times, this shiny orange quartz was considered to have magical virtues. For example, the Scandinavian people, especially the Vikings, revered this stone. In Norse mythology, possessing this sunstone allowed easy access to Valhalla, the resting ground for slain warriors. Archaeologist Thorkild Ramskou made a hypothesis in 1967. Heliolite was reportedly found aboard a shipwreck. To him, it was a Viking heritage, which at the time, long before the invention of the compass, was used to aid in orientation at sea. Simply placing heliolite in front of one’s eye, looking towards the sky, could help one to find the sun’s position.
Over the years, each civilisation granted it their own attributes. For the Celts who worshiped the sun, heliolite represented cosmic light. For Buddhists, heliolite is associated with the protective and benevolent god Vishnu. A variety from Oregon, USA (Oregon sunstone) was discovered in 1980. It is made up of labradorite and contains minimal copper particles instead of haematite. The well-known orange colour is enhanced. It can also be green, yellow, brown or transparent.
Once called the ‘stone of the stars’, sunstone takes its current name from its twinkling effect, recalling that of the stars. It was in 1801 that French mineralogist Jean-Claude Delamétherie named it so. It belongs to the Oligoclase family, from the feldspar group. Its colours are very enchanting, ranging from a variation of brown, red, and orange. But its name also comes from the metallic effect obtained by its presence of haematites or goethites. These reflect light from their iridescent green-blue colour. Its hardness (scratch resistance of different minerals) is between 6 and 6.5 on the Mohs scale.
Chemical composition: Na (AlSi3O8) Ca (Al2Si2O8)
Crystal System: Triclinic
Deposits: Sunstone is primarily found in Canada, the United States, Norway, Russia, India and Madagascar.
Psychologically, regardless of the beliefs of different cultures, it should be noted that heliolite is a symbol of power and harmony.