History and General Information of Natural Kunzite Gemstone
Like most natural gemstones, which are named after the person who discovered them or else researched it, kunzite gemstone is named after George Frederick Kunz (1856 – 1932), a New York jeweler. This gemstone was first discovered in Pala District of San Diego County in California in 1902. It is a fairly young gem, because it was discovered only a century back, and only now is it being seen in popular jewelry. The stone is valued for its pink color, which ranges in hue from a light pink to a deep lilac (bluish purple).
Kunzite gemstone belongs to the group of gems from the mineral spodumene. Due to its extreme fragility, kunzite is rarely used in jewelry where small pieces are needed. Instead, pendants are fashioned out of it and it is used as ornamentation for decorative objects. Gem kunzite is also known as the evening stone and the reason behind it is its susceptibility to lose color when worn in sunlight, for long periods of time.
Chemical formula of kunzite is LiAlSi2O6, making it a Lithium Aluminium Silicate of the group of minerals belonging to the pyroxene family, occurring in granite pegmatites.
Varities of Kunzite
Kunzite is variety of mineral Spodumene. Mineral Spodumene comes in pink to bluish purple, green, yellow, colorless, blue (very rare), and other colored varieties, typically light in tone. The pink to bluish purple colored stones are called as Kunzite. Medium green (rare, chromium colored) stones are called as hiddenite and yellow ones are called as triphane.
Physical Properties of Kunzite
Kunzite is a not a very hard stone measuring about 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale with a refractive index of 1.660-1.676 ( +/- 0.005). It has a specific gravity of 3.18 (+/- 0.03). Rough kunzite has long prism shaped crystals which are lathlike and transparent. These Crystals form in the monoclinic system and are typically heavily striated parallel to the principal axis. The crystal faces are often etched and pitted with triangular markings.
Kunzite gemstone is pleochroic in nature and emits different colors, depending upon the cut, and the facet which has been highlighted. This gemstone may come in colors ranging from strongly purplish pink to bluish purple, while a few colorless stones belonging to this group have been identified. Kunzites sourced from Afghanistan often display a deep rich violet color as well as lighter shades of it, once again depending upon the observer’s angle. The lilac color is due to the minute traces of manganese found in the stone. To bring out the color, kunzite gemstone is almost always irradiated. Color enhancement by heat treatment is also common in this gemstone.
Like all gemstones, the beauty and color of the kunzite are dependent upon the skill of the cutter. Due to its perfect cleavage, the stone needs extreme care while cutting. Re cutting of this gemstone is generally not advised. The stone gives out a beautiful silvery sheen on its facet which enhances the delicate shades of the stone, and the shape of the stone can be of many different kinds.
Large pieces of kunzite rough are usually found and hence it is a relatively affordable gemstone. The beauty of the stone can be appreciated in large pieces, as they hold the color well and also because it occurs naturally in big chunks.
Kunzite gemstones are generally free from any inclusions clear stones of eye clean, VVS, VS grade etc are commonly found, and the traces of manganese found in the stone in fact lend it color.
Price Range of Kunzite Gemstone
The Kunzite is a comparatively cheap gemstone and can be bought for prices ranging from as little as $ 1 per carat. The price increases depending upon the color of the stone. Big pieces of more than 100 cts+ size with deep pink-blue color can be bought for USD50-USD100. Pale colored stones are very cheap. Also it goes without saying that treated and irradiated kunzites sell for far lesser price than natural untreated ones.
This beautiful pink stone comes from mainly USA, Madagascar, Brazil, Myanmar and Afghanistan.
Interesting Trivia and other Kunzite Facts
Medium green colored hiddenite gemstones of Spodumene family are usually sold in the market using the trade name as Lithia emerald. Light green or irradiated green spodumene cannot be called as hiddenite. To be called as hiddenite the mineral ahould have fair amount (medium) of green in it.
The kunzite is valued in gem therapy as a stone which gives the wearer peace of mind and calm disposition. It is also worn by people who wish to pursue the path of devotion for it induces inner peace and gives clarity of mind. Its healing properties extend to soothing frayed nerves and bringing about serenity, all of which is credited to its iridescent color. It is recommended that a person should hold the stone and look at it, in order to release stress and fatigue.
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