Kunzite Facts and Buying Guide
by Sheweta Dhanuka
This attractive gemstone strongly exhibits the phenomenon of pleochroism. Under it when the stone is rotated in different directions it display the intense colour variations. A genuine gem would exhibit deep colour difference when viewed from top and bottom. It can even display two colours or even appear colourless. This extraordinary phenomenon occurs naturally in the stone and is largely dependent on the orientation of the gemstone.
Kunzite is named after the legendary gem scholar and gemologist ‘George Frederick Kunz’. This stone is considered as tribute to him for his invaluable search for new varieties and new deposits of gemstones across the globe. He worked a lot for knowing the old stories and legends about the gems. This gemstone was first found in Connecticut, USA in 1877. It was recognized in the year 1902 when it’s first mine was discovered in California, USA that contained substantial deposits. It is one of the two varieties of the mineral spodumene, other being Hiddenite.
It is one of the most desirable stone due to its delicate and sophisticated look. Its incredible colour makes it beautiful and attractive gemstone that everyone wishes to acquire. In order to make the purchase of genuine gemstone, buyers need to have little knowledge about it. Therefore, this article is written with the aim to provide the facts and act as a buying guide for the buyers. All the general gemstone characteristics are covered giving the important information to the maximum possible extent.
It occurs in various shades of pink. Pink is the main colour through which this stone carries its identification in the gemstone trade. However, it is found in other colours as well but all the colours would be of light shades. Those colours are lavender, violet and purple. Pink colour appears due to the presence of manganese impurity in the chemical composition.
This attractive gemstone strongly exhibits the phenomenon of pleochroism. Under it when the stone is rotated in different directions it display the intense colour variations. A genuine gem would exhibit deep colour difference when viewed from top and bottom. It can even display two colours or even appear colorless. This extraordinary phenomenon occurs naturally in the stone and is largely dependent on the orientation of the gemstone. The orientation of the crystal can be enhanced through efficient cutting.
It is the most crucial characteristic as the entire beauty of the stone is dependent on cutting. Cutter has to give the cut and shape to the stone keeping in mind the cleavage, splintery fracture and strong pleochroism. It is very difficult to cut this stone as it consists of perfect cleavage. It is sometimes real challenge for the cutter to give a good cut to the stone. A good cut is a cut that exhibits the deepest pink colour through the top of the gem. A genuine Kunzite is very difficult to be cut into smaller sizes. It is rarely cut in size with small magnitude. Few common cuts are oval, pear, round, marquise, cushion etc.
It possesses vitreous luster and is transparent in nature. It is not a clean stone. Almost every stone obtained carries some inclusions. As the stone is transparent the flaws are clearly visible by the naked eyes. Lesser the flaws more valuable is the stone. However, while cutting cutters try their level best to remove the fractures but to remove it fully is next to impossible. Absolutely crystal clear gem is rarely available.
For this amazing stone, the colour and pleochroism phenomenon is best seen in large sizes. The ideal weight is 10 ctw and more in which the colour variations are displayed beautifully. The jewelries are made of stones with lesser carat weight as well that is between 2 to 6 ctw. As mentioned above, smaller sizes are difficult to create therefore stone less than 2 ctw are rarely seen.
It is one among the few stones where the price is dependent on all the 4 Cs. Deeper the pink colour more valuable the stone is in terms of money. A new and good cut in a stone with fewer flaws further raises the price. Finally, with the increase in carat weight the cost also increases. When all four Cs are present at their highest level then the stone fetches maximum price. Otherwise like other semi precious gemstones it is an affordable stone. Violet and purple colours are set at moderate rates. Enhanced or treated gems would cost very less as compared to naturally occurred gems. The buyers can select the stone that suits their pockets.
The major producers of this pink coloured beauty are United States, Brazil, Afghanistan and Madagascar. It is also procured from few other countries namely Africa, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Myanmar ( Burma) and Sweden. It is found in association with other two semi precious pink gemstones viz. morganite and pink tourmaline.
Enhancement – This lovely gemstone obtained from few specific countries is often enhanced to improve the colour through irradiation or heat treatment process. Improving colour implies to darken the colour of the stone. It is mostly irradiated to enhance the colour. Although through these processes the life of the stone is reduced.
Many laboratory created stones are sold as genuine stones under the faulty names such as Rose Kunzite or Pink Sapphire and so on. Buyers have to be extra cautious of the synthetic stones while making the purchase.
As it is a delicate stone it is only used for making captivating jewelry pieces. It is also used as a decorative piece on ornamental stone but it is quite rare. The jewelries can be made o 14K or 18K yellow as well as white gold. Sterling silver is also widely used to make exquisite rings, earring and pendants. For any design the stone size has to be more than 2 carats in weight because of two reasons. First reason, in larger size the colour and pleochroism phenomenon is displayed better. Secondly it is difficult to cut this stone in smaller size. Rings and earrings are seen less in the market due to these reasons. However, pendants that hold large stones are very popular and most sought by the females who love to wear gemstones.
It is rated between 6.5-7 Mohs on the hardness scale. As per the hardness scale it is quite a hard stone but unfortunately a single hit can split the stone into two pieces. Therefore, it has to be protected against the sharp blows and scratches. Being fragile is nature it need to be kept away from sudden large temperature changes and excessive heat else it would deteriorate the effect of pleochroism. It might fade the colour of the stone too.
Sunlight is very much harmful for this stone. It is already light in colour and any exposure to sunlight would certainly result in fading of the colour, making it colorless. Due to this reason it is also named as ‘ Evening Stone’. Thus preferably jewelry consisting this gemstone should be worn for evening functions and ceremonies. It should also not be worn daily and must be protected from harsh chemicals present in cleaning agents and cosmetics.
Home ultrasonic cleaner should be avoided rather cleaning should be done with mild soapy water and soft bristle brush. After the cleaning the gems and the jewelry items must be wiped off fully with a soft cloth. Cleaning should be done only once in a couple of years and not on a regular basis.
It is said to augment the communication skills of the wearer as it enables him/her to interact better with others. It is believed to relieve the person from unwanted stress, anger and negative feelings. It is boon for those who have failed love affairs or broken marriages as it helps to get over the broken heart. It also aids in medical healing especially lung disorder.
According to the gemstone pioneers, this evening stone opens the path of spirituality for the wearer. The reason being, it builds a perfect coordination between mind and heart. Moreover, its pink colour is associated with the property of blending the energies of mind and heart. Therefore it is referred as a ‘Stone of Balance’ offering emotional calmness, peace, security, harmony and maturity.
Kunzite is an amazing stone. It is not necessary that people who are interested towards the path of spirituality should wear it. It makes fascinating jewelry items that make the wearer very attractive and beautiful. It offers elegance and dignity to the woman that sets her apart from the crowd. So want to look different yet charming then try wearing this fabulous gemstone!!