oregon sunstone history


The history of Oregon Sunstone began with Native Americans assigning special value to the unique crystals they found on the surface of the earth, and evolved into a rich three decade old modern mining industry that has sprawled throughout Harney and Lake County of Oregon.

In the 60's and 70's geologists studied the lava flows of Harney and Lake County and rock hounds would go hunting for treasure in these areas.

In 1992, Terry Clark and Don Butford bought mining claims in the Rabbit Basin in Lake County and established the first commercial mining operations and used mechanical mining machines to extract more Oregon Sunstone then ever offered before. Their efforts and enthusiasm attracted skilled lapidaries and jewelers to take notice of the gem and before long more industrial mining operations were established in the Rabbit Basin.

In 2003, John Woodmark, owner of Desert Sun Mining & Gem Co purchased and created the first full scale commercial mining operation at the Ponderosa Mine in Harney county. That gave the marketplace a second important locality source and the market continued to grow.

As more miners and jewelers found the industry to be profitable, artificially colored substitutes known as “Tibetan Andesine” or “Precious Andesine”, usually made of cheap Oligoclase-Feldspar from Mongolia, Mexico and clear Oregon Sunstone infused with copper, began to appear in the marketplace. That created confusion among consumers and the Oregon Sunstone market took a hit. The financial crisis in 2008 reduced sales of all luxury goods which further suppressed Oregon Sunstone sales.

In 2011 Dave Wheatley and Randy Reinikka discovered and registered claims approximately 15 miles north-east of Rabbit Basin in Harney County in a locality called Little Eagle Butte.

Later that year they established two companies PANA Mine and Sunstone Butte Mine. This new discovery was an important addition for 2 reasons, firstly it increased supply to the marketplace and secondly the exceptional quality discovered at this location "changes everything" according to a GIA team member during their site visit. Extremely high quality sunstone was now being produced at levels never seen before.

In 2016 Ales Patrick Krivanek owner of Ravenstein Gem Co. purchased all PANA Mine claims and has been using his companies expertise in online marketing and sales to further accessibility to the industry for consumers. His current efforts are to take all the hard work and accomplishments gathered over the years and compile them into this online guide that he hopes will grow the market to new levels especially if other miners and mines are willing to cooperate with this idea.

If there was ever a good time to invest and become part of the growing Oregon Sunstone industry, it is NOW. On this page we will provide links to papers and books that can help anyone understand the rich and long history of Oregon Sunstone, in the hopes of helping you take a more active role in the industry.

On November 25, 2017 Robert James published the most important piece of literature about Oregon Sunstone to date. He has used his unique relationships with all the miners to bring a behind the scene depiction of the mining side of the industry that you can't find anywhere else. Anyone and everyone who want's to invest in Oregon Sunstone should spend the time and read through this important piece of literature.






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RoberT James FGA, GG - Oregon Sunstone

You can buy the book here.