the Stone of the golden sun


          It was the Time of the Fifth Sun.


The great Emperor, Cuauhtémoc, looked out over the island city of Tenochtitlan and its population of more than a quarter of a million people. Here before him stood the capital of an Aztec Empire that spanned thousands of square miles and was the unquestioned pinnacle of American civilization.  So peaceful…so reassuring; and yet…all of this was in grave and imminent danger.


Text Box:          For the great volcano near the city, Popocatepetl, had erupted, and with mighty blasts Xiutecuhtli, the God of Fire, had filled the sky with black clouds of soot and ash. Day had turned to night. The Sun God, Tonatiuh, had been made captive of “the jaguar heart of the mountain”, the powerful Lord of the Night, Tepeyolothli. Crops were starting to wither and die. The rivers were thickened with ash, and the fish and animals had fled. The people were in a state of panic.


        A delegation of nobles had begged the Emperor for help. The situation was desperate. How could the Sun God be released from captivity? Surely the Emperor would have the wisdom to find a solution! Cuauhtémoc desperately searched his memory for details of a long-forgotten story from his childhood. Slowly a glimmer of hope crept into the corner of his consciousness. Yes….perhaps…there might be a way, but it lay buried in the ancient myths and legends of Aztec culture. The only hope for his people was the chance that one of these myths might actually have a basis in truth. Was such a thing possible?


        There was little time to waste - the Emperor had no choice. He immediately assembled a small band of his best runners and trackers and gave them details of a story passed down through generations, a story so fantastic that Cuauhtémoc scarcely believed it himself.


The ancient myth suggested that in the days of pre-history, long before men, a battle had been waged between Tonatiuh, the Sun God, and Tlaltecuhtli, the God of Earth. The Earth God won this battle. To memorialize the triumph of his victory he created a special SUN-STONE in which he imprisoned his defeated rival. Tlaltecuhtli then broke the stone into millions of pieces and scattered them into boiling lava, which eventually cooled into dense, black rock that would forever keep Tonatiuh within the earth…and within his grasp.


        This plan might have worked, except for the unexpected intervention of Tialoc and Quetzalcoatl, the Gods of Water and Wind. Over millennia of uncounted time, these elemental forces struggled against the dense black lava rock that had encased the bits and pieces of Tonatiuh’s prison. Eventually the rock was worn away, unlocking the golden fragments and allowing them to accumulate on the surface of the ground. When enough of them had been released, Quetzalcoatl blew them high into the sky, restoring Tonatiuh to his rightful place in the heavens. According to the legend, the Gods of wind and water continued to tear at the rock and expose more of the golden fragments, to make sure that someday ALL of Tonatiuh would be freed. The ancient Aztec priests had given a name to the magical rock that imprisoned the Sun God. They had called it the Stone of the Golden Sun.


        Cuauhtémoc prayed that his idea would work. The location of the Stone of the Golden Sun was far to the north in a remote volcanic area. If his runners could track it down and bring back some of the ancient fragments of Tonatiuh, then perhaps returning these to the lavas of Popocatepetl would appease the Fire God Xiutecuhtli and save his people!


Text Box:          After weeks of searching, the runners finally discovered a place that seemed to fit the descriptions of the ancient legends. In a remote valley lay a tiny area in which bright, golden yellow stones literally covered the ground. These stones were amazing – and unique - transparent and hard, unlike anything ever seen before. The Emperor’s team scooped up as much of the stones as they could carry and rushed back to Tenochtitlan.



Text Box:  The situation at home had become truly desperate. There was no time to waste! The Emperor’s astronomer-priests carried the pieces of golden SUN-STONE to a spot where the full fury of the volcano could  not only be seen, but also be felt! And with loud cries and incantations they hurled the stones out into the hot plumes of lava. The stones quickly disappeared into the incandescent cauldron. Within minutes, the fiery eruption ceased. By morning the tower of ash and dust had begun to settle. The God of the mountain had been appeased and the city was saved from destruction.



The Aztecs of this legend could not have predicted that in the future an even more terrible enemy would overtake them. By 1521 A.D. the great empire of Moctezuma and his descendents would fall to Spanish conquistadors. After 300 years of Spanish rule, Mexico finally became independent and a figure was chosen to be a symbol of national identity. This symbol was Cuauhtémoc, and his story of defiance against Spanish conquest gives modern Mexicans a feeling of great pride in their Indian ancestry.


Text Box:  In 1790 an amazing carved stone was excavated in the center of Mexico City, an artifact now believed to be a symbolic representation of the Aztec view of space-time. This object, an immense disk of dark, basaltic rock a meter thick, 1.6 meters across and weighing 24 metric tonnes, has come to be known as the Sun-Stone. All the existing studies of Aztec culture, religion and myth emphasize the unique importance of the sun. The entire religious and military focus of their civilization revolved around sacrifice to the Sun God and a fanatical need to prevent darkness from overtaking the land. There is no modern counterpart to the religion that so dominated Aztec culture. However, the sun and its symbols remain vitally important to native peoples throughout the Americas.





the Stone of the golden sun


There is no way to prove or disprove the legend of Tonatiuh and Xiutecuhtli. We do know, however, that Mexico is a volcanic country and eruptions have plagued its occupants for centuries. We do know that there is a tiny area in remote northern Mexico where bright golden yellow crystals have weathered out of dark basaltic rock and lie scattered on the ground. We do know that while this surface material has been exposed for a long time and is not completely flawless, the golden yellow crystals still trapped within the basalt are transparent, unusually hard, and generally unlike anything found anywhere else on earth.


This deposit is known as La Mina de La Piedra del Sol Dorado, which means “The Mine of the Stone of the Golden Sun”.


Is it coincidence?  Is it prophecy?  Or is it simply amazing good fortune that the gemstones now available as GOLDEN SUNSTONE TM (and as ROYAL SUNSTONE TM  in cut gem sizes over 20 carats) are remarkably brilliant and amazingly limpid, as if the sun’s rays were truly imprisoned within their glittering polished surfaces!


GOLDEN SUNSTONE TM  can be purchased as faceted gemstones in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as well as unique patented and trademarked cuts, including Virtual RealityTM, the Virtual CrossTM and the Virtual StarTM.  GOLDEN SUNSTONE is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after gemstones in the global marketplace.


There is a special pleasure in possessing the Stone of the Golden Sun.  Perhaps….just maybe…when you hold one in your hand… you really do own a fragment of captured sunlight.

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Text Box: THE VIRTUAL CROSSTM Text Box: THE VIRTUAL STARTM Text Box: ©   Joel E. Arem  2002