Given that the Pantone colors of the year are Rose Quartz and Serenity, I have a gemstone you might want to familiarize yourself with.
Have your heard of the gemstone Kunzite? Kunzite, with its light pink to violet hues, is one of the newer gemstones in terms of the history of colored stones and their use in jewelry.
In the early 1900s, pieces of pink crystal were found in San Diego County and soon identified by Tiffany & Co. mineralogist George Frederick Kunz, for whom the stone was named.
Emerald cut kunzite, photo courtesy of GIA.
Kunzite is a very attractive gemstone and while if suffers from a lack of consumer recognition, this can translate into reasonable prices at the counter. This might be the year for Kunzite to break through especially with women given its soft pink color and accessible price point.
Kunzite is the pink-to-violet variety of the mineral spodumene, and gets its color from manganese. It’s most often found in shades of pale pink, but more vivid colors are possible and it can achieve rare hues of vivid violet to purple.
Tiffany kunzite and diamond brooch, photo courtesy of Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co., Schlumberger “Bird on a Rock” kunzite and diamond brooch. Photo courtesy of Samual Saidian.
Margherita Burgener kunzite and diamond earrings, photo courtesy of Phillips.
Kunzite’s color can be enhanced by irradiation followed by heating. Whether natural or enhanced, the color can fade when exposed to heat and intense light. It’s a good idea to store kunzite jewelry in a closed jewelry box or case when it’s not being worn.
Kunzite has two perfect cleavage directions and is pleochroic, meaning it appears to be different colors depending upon the angle at which it is viewed. Its best color is visible when looking down the length of the crystal. These two traits make cutting the stone more difficult than others gems and which cutters have to keep in mind when they’re faceting kunzite.
Tiffany & Co. kunzite and diamond pendant, photo courtesy of Tiffany.
Today, the gemstone is found primarily in California, Afghanistan, Brazil and Madagascar, and is one of the few gems that is available in fairly large sizes for an affordable price.
Kunzite and alexandrite ring, photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.