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KUNZITE INFORMATION

kunzite

Color Pink, Pinkish violet
Chemical Lithium Aluminum Silicate, LiAl(SiO3)2
Refractive Index 1.65 - 1.68
Durability Fragile
Specific Gravity 3.00 - 3.20
Treatment Irradiation is possible
Hardness 6 1/2 - 7 1/2
Localities Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, California, North Carolina and Madagascar

Spodumene is an important ore of lithium which occurs in lithium-bearing granite pegmatites. It is typically associated with quartz, albite, beryl, tourmaline and lepidolite. Kunzite is a wonderful and rare pink gemstone. Kunzite is a transparent lilac-colored variety of spodumene, hiddenite is a transparent green variety, while yellow and colorless varieties are not uncommon.  

All are used as gemstones. Kunzite the pink/lavender purple member of the spodumene family is trichroic - displaying different colors from different angles. Kunzite was first found in Pala, California, in 1902, and is named after the gemologist George F. Kunz. In the latter part of the 19th century. Kunz was chief gem buyer for Tiffany & Co. He was a pioneer of the science now known as gemology.  It is generally found in large sizes, perhaps ten carats or more. Small stones with an attractive color may be hard to find. Kunzite may fade with prolonged exposure to strong light, this is especially true if the material is irradiated, but this treatment is infrequently done. If exposed to the sun, kunzite first loses its colour, then turns green and in time resumes its original hue. 

the most difficult gems to cut. It is very sensitive to knocks and will chip if hit too hard. Kunzite is famous 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 is.

Pleochroism

Dichroism These are effects present in a mineral exhibiting two or more separate colors when viewed at different angles. Pleochroism and Dichroism are synonymous, except Dichroism refers only to two colors, but pleochroism can be more than two.

Kunzite Folklore

Kunzite is called the evening stone, because it is best worn at night.  Kunzite is strongly fluorescent.  This means that it changes the wavelength of UV light (those nasty sun rays we can´t see but cause skin cancer too).  This energy absorbed by the stone regularly can cause its color to fade. 

Kunzite Prices

Kunzite prices have been climbing steadily for the past two years, and have appreciated in the wholesale marketplaces by over 100%. For a simple Kunzite pricing guide, consider this (please keep in mind size, clarity and cut also have an impact on pricing too):

Pale Color to Near Colorless: Less than $10 per carat
Light Pink Color: $10-$20 per carat
Medium Lilac Pink Color: $20-$60 per carat
Very Rich Color: $60-$180 per carat

A very interesting observation was made, in that "colorless kunzite" is now a commonly searched phrase online.  We hypothesize that the mass-market channels, such as tv shopping online, who are promoting colorless or near colorless kunzite are the reason behind the increased search volume.  Unfortunately, something is getting lost in the translation of this tv shopping phenomenon.  It should be widely known that a rich pink color is more rare and more beautiful, but the television shopping channels confuse their viewers with the goal of selling the cheap pale colorless kunzite.

Kunzite Localities

Kunzite can be found in many places throughout the world; however, the largest current source of kunzite is from the mountainous region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Up until recently, most of that kunzite rough was channeled through Brazil. Brazil had developed special expertise in treating and cutting kunzite. In fact, most people think Kunzite comes from Brazil because of this. But in actuality there are no mines producing kunzite and all of the Brazilians are buying the Afghani/Pakistani rough.  Kunzite is very difficult to cut because the stone has perfect cleavage.  A simple mistake may result in a shattered stone.  Another added layer of difficulty is that the color appears different based on the orientation of the crystal.  This property is called pleochroism.  Recently, some of this cutting and treatment expertise has leaked to Asia.  Some people may know this stone as Kunzita (because this is the name for Kunzite in Portuguese - the language of Brazil). 


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