Kunzite

Kunzite is a pink gemstone variety of Spodumene – there are other colours of Spodumene, but Kunzite is always a pale pink, gaining its colour from Manganese.

It is often heated or irradiated to improve its colour. The clearest and most colourful pieces will be faceted for jewellery making, or cut en cabochon.

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Uses and History

It was originally discovered in 1902, and named after George Frederick Kunz, the chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co.

It is often clear and free of inclusions and used as a gemstone. However, Kunzite is notorious for fading when exposed to sunlight.
Kunzite is strongly pleochroic and shows pink, clear, and violent hues depending on the angle from which it is viewed.

It is exclusively used for jewellery – typically faceted, but occasionally cut en cabochon.


Locales

Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, the USA.


Mineralogy

Chemistry
Gem quality Spodumene, a Lithium Aluminium Silicate with the formula LiAlSi2O6
Colours and Variations
Pink, purple – typically pale to pastel, but can be more saturated.
Streak
White
Luster
Vitreous
Fracture
Uneven
Crystal habit
Prismatic
Mohs hardness
6.5 – 7.0
Specific Gravity
3.1 – 3.2
Easiest testing method
Bright fluorescence under UV light.
Common Treatments
Irradiation and heat treatment.

Photos of Kunzite

Spodumene-152468
Spodumene-20415
Kunzite (Afghanistan) 1

Spodumene-Albite-209981
Spodumene-pala44b
Kunzite, cookeite

Kunzite - Cleveland Museum of Natural History (34316582742)
Spodumene-sd305a
Spodumene-Quartz-Albite-22991

Hazards and Warnings

Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.

When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.


Translations

Arabic:

  • كونزيت

Hindi:

Portuguese:

Bengali:

Indonesian:

Punjabi:

English:

Italian:

Russian:

French:

Japanese:

  • クンツァイト

Spanish:

  • kunzita

German:

  • Kunzit

Korean:

  • 쿤 자이 트

Thai:

Gujurati:

  • કુંઝાઇટ

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

Urdu:

  • کنزائٹ

Further Reading / External Links