Special in this Issue
Protect your Skybax Partner
Interview with Zippo
In Every Issue
Notes from James Gurney
Letters to the Spaz
mysterious objects. They give power, light, and even strength. In their
presence, plants can grow and people can see what they desire. I hope to clarify
for you where sunstones come from, how they work, what they are used for, what
they can and can not do, and a little about their history.
Sunstones are mined from the World Beneath, but not in the form you may expect
(WB, 95). In their natural crystal form, they most resemble calcite, clear gems
with smooth, flat sides and pointed tops. Like calcite, sunstones grow in dark
caves and in massive “gardens” of sparkling beauty.
In the raw form, a sunstone has little power. It is when
they are cut into various shapes that they become useful (WB, 95). Cut into a
hexagonal pyramid shape, they can be used for powering strutters, whereas being
cut into a flatter, multifaceted prism allows them to transmit messages. Hewn
into a hexagonal tear-drop, they can be used for beacons.
As you would assume by their name, sunstones are powered by the sun. They can
literally hold the suns light within and transform it into useable energy. How
that energy is used depends on the sunstones water (purity or clarity), cut, and
size. The purer the water (level of 1-10, 7 being rare and 10 being perfect) the
more efficiently the gem can use its power. The cut, as earlier discussed, can
help refract and trap the light within a sunstone and then utilize that energy
for a chosen purpose. Logically, the larger the size, the more powerful the
stone; however, a smaller stone of higher water can be more powerful than a
large stone of lower purity.
These prism gems also come in many varied colors. It is not yet known if the
color affects the sunstone type, but the power sunstones found by Arthur Denison
were green, the transmitter stones red, and beacon stones amethyst.
Sunstones are extremely hard. With a hardness of 11, they are stronger than
diamonds. The specific gravity (the ratio of the density of a gemstone relative
to that of water) is 3.6 and all sunstones have Piezolectric properties. If a
stone has piezoelectric properties, it is capable of producing a surface electric
charge when deformed elastically. A stone is “deformed elastically” when either
pressure is applied, or the stone is twisted. Many of the sunstones and granite
stones used in Dinotopia use the pressure method to product the electric charge.
Only minerals that lack a center of symmetry may have this property. (http://www.piezo-kinetics.com/tutorial.htm).
Sunstones also have reverse refractive properties, or, when a light is shone
through it, the rainbow is upside down (WB, 95).
discussed earlier, sunstones can be used to power strutters, transmit messages,
and act as beacons. However, sunstones also hold other, hidden abilities. The
legendary Ruby Sunstone is said to have the ability “to magnify the dark desires
in anything it touched, human or machine” (WB, 142). Another mysterious power
sunstones seem to have is to show someone what they most desire.
wandered to a place where she could be alone. She closed her eyes. As smoke
rises from glowing embers, images arose from the sunstones. A gentle voice
addressed her. She saw a figure both strange and familiar, a figure whom she
knew to be her own mother. The woman in the vision flickered. Her face changed
from one individual to another, yet always resembled Oriana. The garments became
more and more ancient. At last the entire vision dissolved into a swirl of
shimmering vapors. Oriana realized that she had witnessed her own chain of
maternal ancestors, whose faces till then were unknown to her” (WB, 95).
Oriana’s whole purpose for going on the expedition with Arthur Denison was to
find out about her past.
Yet another ability of sunstones it to make plants grow swiftly. Lee Crabb,
disdaining Bix’s comment that what he held was fern spores, threw the fine,
black power to the cave floor. To the amazement of all present, ferns sprouted
and grew before their eyes. Within moments a lush garden of giant ferns had
grown underground (WB 96). Even though the stones were in their raw from, they
still held enough energy to accelerate the plants growth.
One popular myth about sunstones is that they can protect humans and
herbivorous saurians from carnosaurs and Pteranodons. This belief is completely
untrue and holds no trace of voracity. In fact, carnosaurs guarded the sunstones
for centuries, as did Pteranodons. When fleeing the destruction of Poseidos, Ogthar gave his entire treasury, including sunstones, to the Giganotosaurs in
exchange fro safe passage through the Rainy Basin. The treasure remained
untouched and unseen by humans until Stinktooth, King of the Basin, allowed
Arthur, Oriana, and Bix to enter the Lost Temple.
It was then that Lee Crabb stole the Ruby Sunstone and attempted to leave
Dinotopia, using the sunstone to power an oceangoing strutter. With help from
Stinktooth and his mate, and Oriana, Arthur was able to stop Crabb. But, in the
process, the sunstone sank to the bottom of the ocean, and now lies in the ruins
of Poseidos, along with Crabb’s strutter.
As you can see, Sunstones, though a lost technology, have many diverse uses and
purposes. Would our beloved island be the same without them?