Chemical Formula LiAlSi2O6
Color Pink, Purple
Hardness 6.5 – 7
Crystal System Monoclinic
Refractive Index 1.66 – 1.68
SG 3.1 – 3.2
Double Refraction .015
Cleavage 1,2 – prismatic
Mineral Class Spodumene
Kunzite is a relatively recent gemstone, having been first discovered in the 20th century. It was first found in the pegmatites of Pala, California, in 1902, and is named after the famous mineralogist George F. Kunz who first identified it. Though it wasn’t until the 1990′s that this gemstone became a more mainstream gemstone, having been used only as a collectors gemstone prior to that time.
Kunzite is a very attractive pink gem, but is notorious for its habit of color fading in prolonged exposure to strong light. Although the color-fading effect is very slow, most people still prefer to wear Kunzite jewelery in the evening to avoid sunlight exposure. Kunzite is regarded as an evening stone for this reason.
Kunzite deposits are quite extensive and yield large amounts of this gemstone, thus making it very affordable. Extremely large and flawless crystals of Kunzite have been found, and these can yield very large and flawless faceted gemstones.
The perfect cleavage and splintery fracture of Kunzite makes it a difficult gemstone to facet. It is very sensitive to knocks and will chip if hit too hard. Kunzite is known for its strong pleochroism, showing lighter and more intense coloring when viewed at different angles. For this reason, it is always cut to show the deepest pink color through the top of the gem. The deeper pink the Kunzite, the more valuable it generally is.
Although Kunzite is a relatively soft and delicate gem, and can fade after prolonged exposure to light, its appealing color makes it a popular gem. Small gems are not commonly cut from Kunzite because of its cleavage and strong pleochroism. It is most often used as a pendant stone and as a large decorating stone on ornamental objects. It is less commonly used in rings, necklaces, or other jewelry items where small stones are required. Less transparent stones are sometimes cut into cabochons and beads.
Blue Kunzite – Light blue to bluish green transparent form of Spodumene.
Yellow Kunzite – Yellow transparent form of Spodumene.Rose Kunzite – Synthetic pink Sapphire.Most Kunzite in its natural form is very light in color. It is commonly heat treated to intensify its color and remove brownish tones.The sources of Kunzite are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, and the U.S. (California, and Maine).
Kunzite TREATMENTS AND ENHANCEMENTS
Rose Quartz – Usually cloudier and less transparent.
Morganite and pink Tourmaline – Similar in color but greater hardness.
Topaz – Greater in hardness, usually in a darker pink color tone.
Pink Spinel and pink Tourmaline – Greater in hardness, usually deeper pink. Kyanite is more of a collector gem then a mainstream gem, and has not been extensively mined for gem use. Gem quality Kyanite has traditionally come from Brazil, Cambodia, and Burma, but these stones are generally not colored consistently . They usually have a grayish tone, and are not fully transparent, thus limiting their use as a gemstones. However, recent finds in Nepal of high quality Kyanite have been delivering gemstones of exceptional blue color and transparency, rivaling Sapphire.