Kunzite was discovered in the United States, early in the twentieth century.   Even its name has American roots: this pink gem variety of the mineral, Spodumene, is named in tribute to George Kunz, the legendary gem scholar, gemologist, author of The Curious Lore of Precious Stones and gem buyer for Tiffany & Co. at the turn of the century.
Kunzite was first found in Connecticut, USA.    But, the first commercially significant deposit was discovered in 1902 in the Pala region of California, USA, where Morganite Beryl was also first discovered.   The name was a brilliant marketing move:  the miners named the gem after its most likely customer, George Kunz, just as Morganite was named for J.P. Morgan.
The appeal of this gemstone lies in its clarity and delicate pink nuances which often display a hint of violet.    In order to make sure that the fine color is shown to its full advantage, the cutter must align the raw crystal very precisely during his work.   Depending on the angle from which you look at a Kunzite, it can appear violet, pink or even colorless.    Some Kunzite from finds in Afghanistan display a rich, strong violet, light violet and light green depending on the angle of observation.    In gemology, this phenomenon is known as pleochroism, meaning 'multi-colored'.   This property is particularly well-developed in Kunzite.   If you have the opportunity to look at a Kunzite from close up, look for pleochroism.   In a well-cut stone, the most beautiful color nuance will always be visible from above as the experienced cutters work the raw crystal in perfect accord with its material properties.   Most Kunzites are fairly light in color.   Strongly colored Kunzite is rare and valuable.
As a variety of Spodumen, Kunzite belongs to the class of the chain silicates.   It has minute traces of manganese to thank for its fine lilac color.     Kunzite should also be protected from heat and continued exposure to strong light which may gradually fade its color.    For that reason, jewelry with Kunzite should never be worn while sunbathing.
Its hardness is fairly good, between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs Scale.  Although Kunzite is relatively hard, but should be handled with care because, like Diamond, it has a distinct  perfect cleavage and is thus extremely difficult to cut.   Having said that, once it has been given its final shape, it becomes uncomplicated.   But, it is very difficult to recut.   Once cut, Kunzite's brilliance is amazing.    The silvery gloss on its facets forms a beautiful contrast to the fine violet-pink of the gemstone.
Kunzite is available in many beautiful cuts.   It is one of the gems which are available in relatively large sizes at affordable prices.   When making a purchase, however, you should remember that it is first the color and then the clarity which determines its value.   The more intense the color, the more valuable the Kunzite.  The question of whether the color should tend more or less strongly towards violet will depend on your personal preference and skin type.
Today, most Kunzite is mined in Brazil, Afghanistan, and Madagascar.   Kunzite is often found in association with Morganite and Pink Tourmaline, the other popular pink gemstones.
GB Jewelers, Inc.
Under the Clock Tower
675 SE Marlin Avenue, Suite 1  /  PO Box 999
Warrenton, OR 97146

Latitude:  46.159033 / Longitude: -123.9055280
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Copyright 1974