Rainbow lattice sunstone

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Rainbow lattice sunstone with hematite and magnetite equilateral triangle inclusions

Rainbow lattice is a type of feldspar which is predominantly moonstone that is made up of 75% orthoclase and 25% albite.

The inclusions are the result of crystallographically oriented exsolution crystals within the feldspar mass.

Whilst the initial testing of the stones inclusions conducted in 1989[1] concluded that the inclusions were made up of ilmenite (for the black blades and triangles) and hematite (for the orange platelets), with the advancement in technology over the last 3 decades, a recently[when?] conducted[by whom?] more in depth analysis[further explanation needed] has found the black blades and triangle inclusions in Rainbow Lattice to be magnetite.[citation needed]

Hematite (Fe2O3) which are small mainly yellow to deep orange platelets which can be hexagonal shape and are generally in one plane within the feldspar. This effect is called aventurescence or "sunstone effect" which gives some of the gems an orange glow.

Magnetite (Fe3O4) iron oxide which creates the lattice effect. This forms as very thin blades that occur on one plane in different directions . These blades are oriented in different directions by a process known as lamellar twinning and also displays “sagenitic twinning”, which forms the lattice pattern. The magnetite inclusions in many cases have oxidized or altered through geophysical processes to give the iridescence or rainbow effect across the lattice patterning. The magnetite that has no alteration remains black with a metallic sheen. The magnetite also predominantly forms equilateral triangles and the lattice pattern has triangular terminations.

Rainbow lattice sunstone


It was first discovered in late 1985 by Darren Arthur and Sonny Mason, on a small claim owned by Mason. The original source is located at what is now known as the “Rainbow Serpent Mine”, in the Harts Range Northeast of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia.

It was identified at the GIA and declared a new gem variety in 1989[1].

After Mason's death, Arthur went to co-found Asterism Gems[2], a company which was set up to market and sell the gemstones.