Rainbow Lattice Sunstone

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone is a rare variety of Sunstone, distinguished by its iridescent shimmer and lattice-like pattern. The play of colors arises from microscopic inclusions of iron minerals like magnetite and hematite, which diffract light, creating a kaleidoscope effect. These inclusions create the signature aventurescence (shimmering effect) and chatoyancy (cat's eye effect) that distinguish Rainbow Lattice Sunstone.

The "lattice" refers to the geometric pattern formed by the hematite and magnetite inclusions, often resembling interwoven threads.

This phenomenal gem is filled with gorgeous iridescent inclusions that look like confetti! Rainbow lattice feldspar is doubly phenomenal, containing hematite crystals that give it aventurescence and magnetite crystals that give it a rainbow lattice effect.

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone is a unique variety of Orthoclase Feldspar with its basket-weave pattern of iridescent Hematite and Magnetite platelet crystals is only found in Mud Banks, the Harts ranges, Northern Territories, Australia.

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone is a relatively new discovery, found in late 1985, and is only sourced in a remote part of the Australian desert known as the Mud Tank Zircon Field. This makes it a valuable and sought-after gemstone by collectors.

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone

Physical and Optical Properties

Composition: Primarily orthoclase feldspar (75%) with albite (25%) inclusions. May also contain minor amounts of hematite, ilmenite, magnetite, native copper, and goethite.

Color: Typically colorless or pale yellow, but can also be found in shades of pink, orange, and green. The play of color (adventurescence, adularescence, and iridescence) is the defining characteristic, ranging from flashes of rainbow colors to golden shimmers.

Luster: Vitreous (glassy) when polished, enhancing the gem's beauty and showcasing the play of colors.

Crystal System: Triclinic

Streak: White

Hardness: 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, moderately durable for jewelry but susceptible to scratches.

Cleavage: Good in certain directions, requiring careful cutting and setting.

Crystal Form: Typically massive or platy, occasionally exhibiting striations and the characteristic lattice pattern.

Density: 2.55 to 2.65 g/cm³, relatively dense for a gemstone.

Transparency: Translucent to transparent, allowing light to interact with its internal features and produce the play of colors.

Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven

Specific Gravity: Around 2.60, slightly heavier than water.

Solubility: Insoluble in common acids and water.

Magnetism: Weakly magnetic due to the presence of magnetite inclusions.

Fluorescence: May exhibit weak fluorescence under longwave ultraviolet light.

Pleochroism: Weak, with slight variations in color intensity depending on the viewing angle.

Refractive Index: 1.52 to 1.56, typical for feldspar gemstones.

Inclusions: The defining feature of Rainbow Lattice Sunstone is the presence of microscopic, oriented exsolution lamellae of magnetite and other minerals. These inclusions create the characteristic lattice pattern and the play of colors through light diffraction.

Rainbow Lattice Feldspar
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone from Mud Tank, Northern Territory, Australia. 

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone Uses

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone, a visually stunning gem with its shimmering play of colors and unique lattice pattern, has several uses beyond just dazzling the eye. Here's a breakdown of its various applications:

Jewelry

The most popular use: Rainbow Lattice Sunstone shines in jewelry, where its beauty is showcased beautifully. Rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets often feature this gem as the centerpiece, adding a touch of elegance and whimsy to any outfit.

Versatile gem: Its stunning play of color complements various jewelry styles, from bohemian to contemporary. Its hardness (6.5-7 on the Mohs scale) makes it moderately durable for jewelry, though caution is advised against harsh knocks or scratches.

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone

Metaphysical and Healing

Chakras and energy balancing: This stone is believed to align and activate all nine chakras, promoting balance and well-being throughout the body and mind. It's used in meditation and crystal healing practices to enhance personal growth, clarity, and positive energy.

Spiritual connection: Some believe Rainbow Lattice Sunstone bridges the gap between worlds, opening doors to higher self and otherworldly experiences. Its iridescent glow is associated with celestial energy and spiritual awakening.

Collectibles: Due to its rarity and unique features, Rainbow Lattice Sunstone is sought after by mineral and gemstone collectors. Its mesmerizing patterns and play of color make it a valuable addition to any collection.

Rainbow Lattice sunstone
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone from Mud Tank, Northern Territory, Australia. 
Credit: Geologic Gallery | Boutique

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone FAQs

How rare is Rainbow Lattice Sunstone

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone is exceptionally rare, making it a highly sought-after gemstone by collectors and jewelers alike. Here's a breakdown of its rarity from various perspectives:

Location: It is only found in one place on Earth – the Mud Tank Zircon Field in the Harts Range, Northern Territory, Australia. This single mining claim is approximately 500 x 600 meters (1,600 x 2,000 ft) in size, significantly limiting the supply.

Formation: The specific geological conditions and mineral concentrations necessary for Rainbow Lattice Sunstone formation are extremely uncommon, further contributing to its rarity.

Production: The mine operates with limited production, with strict regulations and controls in place to prevent over-mining and ensure responsible practices. This controlled supply adds to the gem's exclusivity.

 
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone

Where is Rainbow Lattice found

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone is found exclusively in one captivating location: the Mud Tank Zircon Field in the Harts Range, Northern Territory, Australia.

Rainbow lattice feldspar was discovered there in 1985 and acknowledged as a new gem material in 1989. Rainbow lattice sunstone is produced from a remote part of the Australian desert known as the Mud Tank Zircon Field. It is an area consisting of dry plains with rocky outcrops that lies in the Harts Range north-east of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia.

How much does it cost

The price varies greatly depending on the stone's size, color intensity, and clarity. High-quality stones with vibrant play of color and a well-defined lattice pattern can be quite expensive, reaching several thousand dollars per carat.

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone

How can I care for RLS jewelry

Avoid harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, and ultrasonic cleaners. Clean gently with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Store it separately from other gemstones to prevent scratches. 

Rainbow Lattice Sunstone rings
Rainbow Lattice Sunstone Rings

Whether you're a collector, a jewelry enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the wonders of nature, rainbow lattice sunstone is a gemstone that will leave you spellbound. Its unique combination of color, pattern, and rarity makes it a true treasure of the gem world.

See also:
The World's 10 Most Deadly Minerals
Thunderegg: Ordinary Rocks With Crystal Surprise Inside!

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