This bright, sparkling stone is a feldspar crystal formed in molten lava and then discharged onto the surface of the earth by volcanic eruptions. As the lava weathers away or is broken up, crystals are released. Sunstone gets its name from the ways its inclusions reflect the sun's light. This gemstone varies from golden to orange to red-brown, and can be transparent or translucent. Sunstone has a distinctly metallic look, due to sparkling inclusions (usually hematite or goethite crystals) of red, orange or green. Many sunstones also contain copper or pyrite inclusions, giving an extra flash of light; the darker stones contain larger amounts of copper.
The Vikings considered the gemstone to be a talisman for navigation, and sunstones have been discovered in Viking burial mounds. Sunstone is believed to strengthen the life force, bring luck, instill optimism and increase strength and vitality. Many say it assists contemplative processes and bolsters the energy level, or lends extra physical energy in times of stress or ill health. Sunstone also is thought to bring luck and romance to the wearer, and is believed helpful to the liver and kidneys. It is largely found in Oregon, where it is the state gemstone, and also in India, Canada, South Norway and Russia. Red and brown shades of sunstone are believed to activate the root chakra, and gold and orange shades are identified with the sacral chakra.