Kunzite Gemstone Information
Unless you're a major gem enthusiast, there's a good chance you've never heard of the kunzite gemstone. While it's a beautiful stone, it isn't something you'll find in major jewelry stores. As a result, many people aren't aware of it, and that's a pity.
Natural kunzite is breathtaking, offering up some unique coloring that you don't often find in the gemstone world. Plus, it's versatile and reasonably affordable, which is a boon. If you're curious about the kunzite gemstone, here's what you need to know about this amazing gem.
Technically, kunzite isn't classified as a gem. Instead, based on the physical properties of kunzite, it's officially a mineral. Specifically, it's a type of spodumene, which is an aluminosilicate mineral.
Generally, kunzite is translucent to transparent, meaning it allows light to pass through, either fully or partially. This gem can have a bit of fluorescence, usually either pink or orange.
Many pieces that make their way into jewelry are natural. However, some are treated to strengthen or alter the color.
Kunzite can fade, including if exposed to high heat or certain kinds of light. At times, this fading is encouraged through various processes, allowing a stone to transition from a less desirable color to a more marketable one. In some cases, the fading is incidental, often happening through the passage of time or other processes used to create jewelry-quality stones.
Kunzite Stone Color
Like many stones, kunzite doesn't come in a single color. Instead, there are several hues that this gem may have, giving you some variety if you're looking for kunzite jewelry, stones for meditation, and more.
Generally speaking, kunzite is found in a specific color range of pink to violet. However, all of the shades tend to be lighter, leaning more toward pastels than rich jewel tones. But that doesn't mean the color isn't striking. For example, while purple kunzite might not be as dark as some amethyst gems, it's still distinctly purple.
Pink kunzite can actually come in a range of shades. Some lean slightly coral, having a tinge of red or orange in its hue. Others are rosier or have hints of raspberry. Additionally, certain samples may look mauve, while others have a magenta-like quality.
With the purple stones, lilac kunzite is one of the more common variants. Some may lean more towards a dramatic violet or orchid, blending in a bit of red. However, nearly all purple kunzite stones tend to be a bit warm versus running on the cooler end of the spectrum.
At times, the coloring of kunzite can be so light that it borders on colorless. Even in those samples, there tends to be the slightest hue; it just may be so subtle that it isn't immediately detectable by many people.
The History of Kunzite
In the grand scheme of things, kunzite is a new gem. It wasn't formally discovered until 1902, when George Frederick Kunz, a mineralogist with Tiffany and Co., officially described the stone. In the end, kunzite was named after him by a chemistry professor to honor the founding of the unique variant of spodumene.
As an aluminosilicate mineral, kunzite can be a source of lithium, which is needed in batteries, ceramics, specialty glass, and certain other products. However, kunzite isn't widely used in lithium extraction, as there are more economical sources that manufacturers tend to prefer.
Today, kunzite is mainly used as a gemstone in jewelry or for other ornamental purposes. While its beauty was always appreciated, the stone had a moment of fame during an auction of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's belongings at Sotheby's in 1996. A ring featuring a cushion-cut pink kunzite ignited a bidding frenzy, ultimately going for $415,000, which was well above the expected sale price.
Where Is Kunzite Found?
In most cases, kunzite is found alongside granite pegmatite. Overall, kunzite is relatively rare. However, there are larger sources of gem-quality kunzite in Brazil, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Smaller deposits have been located in Canada, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and parts of Australia.
While kunzite is found in several areas globally, gems from Pala, California, are often favored. In general, those stones' coloring tends to be more stable than samples from certain other regions. As a result, that makes gems from that source more desirable.
Even though kunzite is rare, it's still fairly affordable. Mainly, this is because the stone simply isn't as well known as other gems. Whenever there are fewer buyers, a gemstone's price usually stays a bit lower, even if the quality is high.
Generally speaking, kunzite is faceted whenever a high-quality specimen is found. It'll usually be cut into a shape that you'd find with other gems, like a classic round, oval, radiant, cushion, or similar cut. Cut kunzite usually makes its way into rings or pendants, though it may also appear in earrings or bracelets.
However, when a kunzite piece has good color but may lack the clarity people look for in cut gems, it may be turned into a cabochon or beads. In most cases, cabochons make their way into pendants or rings, though they may show up in other kinds of jewelry, as well. If you're looking for a kunzite bracelet, the odds are that you'll find a bead strand piece. You can also find bead strand kunzite necklaces and may spot beads in earrings, too.
As with all gems, the kunzite meaning can vary depending on a person's belief system. Based on the coloring, many think that kunzite connects to matters of the heart, including love, relationships, and communication. That connection also extends to the heart chakra for some people.
Others view kunzite as a calming stone. They feel it promotes inner peace, stress reduction, and harmony while possibly helping someone navigate complex emotional situations.
It is important to understand that there is no scientific proof that any stone can treat, prevent, or cure medical conditions. However, there typically is no harm in wearing, meditating on, or holding a gem. Just don't rely on kunzite as a substitute or genuine medical care if you have a health concern, including mental, emotional, or physical challenges.
Stones Similar to Kunzite
Some gems may look similar to kunzite, depending on the shade you're after. For gem-quality stones, pink sapphire, pink spinel, pink tourmaline, pink morganite, and pink fluorite may all be reasonable substitutes, depending on the exact piece.
For cabochons or beads, rose quartz may have a look that's closest to kunzite. At times, a pink opal may as well, especially if there is no opalescence.
If you're looking for a gem closer to lilac kunzite, lavender quartz is probably your strongest match. Some pieces of amethyst may also be solid stand-ins, as well as purple spinel and purple sapphire. For cabochons or beads, purple jadeite might be your best bet.