This jewel in the heart of North America has gone through such unique tectonic activity over millennia that its distinctive geology has seen this state blessed with buried treasure that differs significantly from similar deposits around the world.
Oregon is richly diverse in the variety of rock types that penetrate this ancient land; this has lead to pockets of Sunstone and Fire Opal that differ considerably from their international counterparts.
The Sunstone from Oregon has long been associated with Tiffany & Co who were rumoured to have bought up several claims in the late 1800’s under the intention of marketing the stone as “The Plush Diamond”.
There are disputes as to when Tiffany gave these mines up with some prominent veteran Sunstone miners claiming that the company held these sites right up until the 1950’s. The general consensus is that Tiffany found it difficult to maintain a mining claim from New York.
It is easy to see what captivated the 5th Avenue Jewellery giant when presented with fine grade Oregon Sunstone. The gem is infused with microscopic copper platelets; they twinkle and dance in the light as they are miraculously suspended within the crystal structure like Diamonds on a string.
Occasionally there are gemstones that transcend their species, that rise from the parapet of their designated family, we have seen this with the likes of Paraiba Tourmaline and of course Tanzanite. These stones command significantly more per carat than their peers, Paraiba attracts those that are not naturally adverse to the world of Tourmaline and the same can be said for Tanzanite; In fact, the most discerning Tanzanite collector may not immediately see the correlation between Zoisite and this violet treasure.
Upon the discovery and subsequent marketing of this completely distinct Sunstone variety the state of Oregon were keen to make that distinction clear and sought a trade name that set it apart; Here at Gemporia we award this top grade material the name Serenite.
It was in 1987 that the state of Oregon bestowed the this particular Gemstone with the honour of being the official state stone. The resolution was passed unanimously in the House (56-0) and the Senate (28-0).
Oregon’s other remarkable offering also sent shockwaves throughout the industry, a Gemstone that added a colourful twist on an already established and revered natural wonder.
The world of coloured gemstones is captivating; these rare genuine gemstones are born from the earth and often give us perfect representations of the world around us.
Aquamarines instantly remind us of the oceans that keep the continents apart, Paraiba tourmalines, Larimar and Aquaprase bring to mind tropical lagoons marbled with sunlight.
Emeralds evoke the landscapes of lush green rainforests and fertile pastures; they have become so synonymous with that representation that Ireland is known as the emerald isle because of its natural beauty.
However where is the stone that pays tribute to the greatest wonder of all?
There is no greater natural source of inspiration than the sun. It gives us life, it grows our food and after a dangerous storm it can bless us with a rainbow. A true Fire Opal is a Gemstone that can encapsulate the intense beauty and wonder of the most beautiful Sunset.
Gemstones have their prominent colours, the colours that they are desired and known for. When we think of Sapphire we think of that deep royal blue and with diamonds we think of a flawless white crystal.
There are sometimes exceptions, this is very rare but occasionally a small pocket will send the market into frenzy and will redefine a gemstone.
Songea gave Sapphires colour
Tunduru gave Sapphire colour change
And Argyle gave the world the pink diamond.
The one thing all of these mines have in common though is that thousands of prospectors descend on these locations and they are all but depleted.
For years Mexico has set the benchmark for the finest intense red fire Opal and the industry has focused its efforts on this red hue of Opal that Mexico is famed for.
However in 2014 I was contacted by two men…Chuck and Barry, two men who happened to strike gold.
Their discovery redefined Fire Opal. Myself and my good friend Glenn Lehrer (world famous gem artist) were in agreement that no two stones were the same, it was the shimmering colours of every sunset and sunrise they had ever seen across the entire parcel. This mine didn’t have strict parameters, there was no defining colour, each stone had a different tone, a different character.
When these stones are cut, it unlocks their potential furthermore…The light seems to slow down as it enters each stone as if it too, wants to marvel in the intricate craftsmanship of our elite lapidary team.
Oregon truly has positioned itself as a North American powerhouse in the world of rare, unique and natural gemstones, a state that due to its geological history is as diverse as the stones that sit beneath its terrain.
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