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Gem Library

Kunzite (COON-site)

BUYER’S OVERVIEW:
Kunzite is a form of Spodumene and is considered to be a semi-precious gemstone. While not abundant in nature, Kunzite is not rare and good size stones are available.

Kunzite is available in a range of naturally occurring colors from a strong pink through purplish pink to bluish purple. Kunzite is occasionally found in light green or yellow but these colors are rare. The most sought after colors in the marketplace are the strong pinks (available) and light greens (very rare).

Pink has become one of the most popular colors in gemstones and many pink gems, such as Spinel and Sapphire are only found in small sizes (under 2 carats). While Pink Tourmaline can be found up to 10 carats it is very expensive at that size, if you want a large, very clean stone for a gemstone ring or pendant Kunzite is the best choice.

COLOR:
Strong pink to bluish purple, occasionally light green or yellow but these colors are rare.

APPEARANCE:
Transparent to opaque. Kunzite is a Type I gemstone and is virtually inclusion free.

SIZE RANGE:
1 to 25 carats, faceted stones over 1000 carats are known.

TYPICAL CUTTING STYLES:
Transparent: most cutting styles are available.
Translucent: cabochons, beads or carvings.

POSSIBLE ENHANCEMENTS & TREATMENTS:
Kunzite is often irradiated to produce a strong pink color from colorless or near colorless gems, or medium to dark green from light green. These colors will fade rapidly if the gem is exposed to strong light or with gentle heating.

HARDNESS:
6½ to 7 on the Mohs scale.

BEST USE OF THE GEMSTONE:
Kunzite is referred to as the “evening stone” because it can rapidly fade when exposed to strong light. This is a very wearable gem but not meant for rough handling, it should be treated as a “fine” gem primarily for indoor or evening wear.

CARE & CLEANING:
It is best to never expose colored gemstones to cleaning solvents or chemicals of any kind.
Common cleaning methods include:
Ultrasonic: never
Steamer: never
Warm soapy water: safe
Reaction to Chemicals: can be damaged by acids and alkalis.
Reaction to Heat: very sensitive to heat and should never be exposed to even gentle heating.
Stability to Light: color will quickly fade after moderate exposure to sunlight or UV light.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS GEMSTONE:
The name Kunzite was created as a tribute to George F Kunz, renowned Tiffany & Co. buyer and legendary American mineralogist. The gem was first described in 1902 as a pink-violet colored member of the Spodumene (SPOD-you-mene) family. Other gems in this group are Hiddenite (green) and Triphane (yellow). Kunzite is strongly pleochroic, meaning there is a color intensity variation when a crystal is viewed from different directions.

While most of the world’s supply of gem-quality Spodumene comes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Madagascar and Brazil, the first discovery was made in San Diego County, California in 1902.

Spodumene is a major source of the rare element lithium, the lightest of all metals and least dense solid element known to man. Lithium is used in batteries, aircraft alloys and mood stabilizing drugs.

Kunzite has excellent transparency and good brilliance with a refractive index slightly lower than Tanzanite.

Did you know President John F. Kennedy purchased a beautiful 47-karet Kunzite ring as a gift for his wife but never had the chance to give it to her? The ring was sold at Sotheby’s auction of the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1996 for more than $410,000.

DESIGNATION:
Kunzite has a long history but no traditions associated with it.

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