Kunzite: Pink Evening Gemstone
Kunzite is one of the few gemstones that can be found in the color pink. Kunzite is becoming increasingly popular as most of its pink competitors (morganite for example) are either of lower quality or far higher priced.
Kunzite offers a beautiful pink color with excellent clarity in almost any size your heart desires for an extremely low price.
What is Kunzite?
Kunzite was first found in 1877 in Connecticut, USA. It was only recognized as a new gemstone in the year 1902 by the legendary gemologist George Frederick Kunz.
Kunzite is a variety of the mineral spodumene, with the other variety being hiddenite.
The most common color it is found in is pink, though other colors such as violet and a light purple are possible. Sometimes dealers sell yellow kunzite or green kunzite, but these are the other spodumene variety, hiddenite.
Kunzite often shows strong pleochroism, most often appearing colorless when looked at from a different direction. So the cut of this gemstone is extremely important, to make sure that the strongest pink color is in view when the stone is set in jewelry.
One of the most important properties of the kunzite gemstone is that its color will fade when it comes in contact with direct sunlight. For that reason it is called an evening stone and should in general not be worn during the day.
it has a fairly high hardness with a score of 6.5 to 7 on Mohs hardness scale, but it can be quite brittle. It’s a transparent gemstone, but it will often have inclusions, eye clean stones should be easy to find though.
Currently only a few countries are producing the majority of kunzite, they are: Brazil, Afghanistan, Madagascar and the USA. Several other countries also have deposits though they are not producing large amounts for various reasons.
Taking Care of Your Kunzite Gemstones
Even though kunzite has a fairly high hardness it still has some other properties that require special care. Here’s a quick overview of what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your gemstone:
- Most important is to minimize contact with direct sunlight, kunzite can fade quite easily. While regaining the color is possible in some cases it is often cheaper to buy a new gemstone.
- Because of the way the crystal is structured you should protect your stone from hard blows, it could chip or fracture and lose all its value.
- You should not be cleaning kunzite in an ultrasonic or jewelry steam cleaner, most household chemicals are off-limits as well.
- The best way to clean this gemstone is with lukewarm water, a mild soap and a soft brush.
Kunzite Buying Guide
Most important for kunzite value is its color, a strong pink color will fetch the highest price. After that comes clarity, most kunzite is very clear. Because of its low price you should not be settling for a gemstone that has a lower clarity than eye-clean.
Cut is quite important as well. The strong pleochroism, strong cleavage and the ease with which this gemstone can shatter means it is a real challenge to cut. To see if it has been properly cut you should check the pink color. If it’s strongest at the top and bottom of the stone it has been cut the right way.
The original cut was the emerald cut. However more recently other gemstone cuts can be seen such as pear shaped cuts, oval cuts and trilliant cuts. So buy whatever shape you enjoy most or fits your jewelry best.
Larger kunzite often gains a deeper pink color, the best way to take advantage of this fact is to buy a stone of 5 carat or more. This should by no means break the bank, a good quality loose kunzite can be bought for around $10-15 per carat. Actually making the jewelry part of your kunzite jewelry more expensive!
Imitations are on the market, synthetic kunzite can be found under the name Rose Kunzite and sometimes Pink Sapphire. Usually these are easy to detect, because natural kunzite changes color when viewed from the side, mostly changing to a lighter pink or even becoming colorless. The easiest way to avoid these however is to only deal with reputable dealers.
Most kunzite today is either heat treated or irradiated (this poses no health risk) to improve and deeper its color. These treatments are permanent in nature, but it will still fade in direct sunlight even if it has been enhanced.
Because kunzite displays its strongest pink in larger sizes, most people will buy a necklace, or pendant instead of a ring. If you do want to buy a ring I’d advise buying a very deep pink color to compensate for its relatively small size. Be aware that deep pink kunzite often comes at a higher price.