Complete Guide to Buying KunziteNovember 9, 2022 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog
Including gemstones in your jewelry collection will add a special touch to any ensemble. Most people know the typical choices – diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. However, if you like to stand out, you might want to consider a more unusual option. This is where the stunning kunzite comes into play.
This guide will reveal everything you need to know about kunzite to help you decide if it is the right gemstone for you. If you have any questions, fill out the form below, and we will respond within 1 business hour.
What Is Kunzite?
Kunzite is a variety of spodumene, a pyroxene mineral. Although the youngest member of the spodumene family, kunzite has become its best known and most sought-after offspring. While spodumene naturally occurs in diverse colors, kunzite is typical of the pink to purple variety.
Kunzite is one of the few naturally pink stones to exist. Most kunzite crystals are pale pink. However, on rare occasions, kunzite can appear in a colorless form and light shades of yellow, green, and lilac. The kunzite’s delicate color is a result of trace amounts of manganese.
Due to its distinct cutting properties, kunzite can be found in extremely large sizes. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. houses the largest kunzite specimen – heart-shaped kunzite with a staggering weight of 880 carats.
Although kunzite used in jewelry is often significantly smaller, kunzite shows the best color in larger sizes due to its gemological properties.
Gemological Properties of Kunzite
Kunzite has two distinct cleavage directions. When a stone has perfect cleavage, it typically produces plane surfaces when cut. In kunzite, the splitting can occur in either of the two directions. This property is not particularly desirable, as an easy separation can lead to the gemstone falling apart during faceting.
In addition, kunzite is unusually resistant to abrasion. In fact, it grinds with more difficulty than other minerals of significantly superior hardness. For instance, corundum measures at 9 on the Mohs scale, yet it is easier to grind than kunzite, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7.
These two properties greatly influence the cutting process. On the one hand, the cutter must apply a fair amount of physical pressure against kunzite, as it resists abrasion. But on the other hand, too much pressure may lead to the stone falling apart during cutting due to its cleavage properties.
Apart from the cleavage and abrasion resistance, color is another crucial factor to keep in mind.
Color Properties of Kunzite
Kunzite is strongly pleochroic, meaning it will appear in multiple colors, depending on the direction you view it from. It can appear pink, lilac, or violet from one direction and colorless from another.
Generally speaking, the deeper the pink color, the more valuable the kunzite. However, most kunzites have a fairly light color, making the kunzites of intense color a rare and valuable find.
For this reason, cutters pay special attention to color properties when orienting the gem for finishing. They try to cut it in a way that displays the most intense color through the top of the gem. Additionally, experienced cutters sometimes cut the gem deep to emphasize the pink color.
History of Kunzite
Most people consider kunzite a newcomer among the gemstones, as it was first discovered in the 20th century – in 1902, to be exact.
Initially, unidentified pink crystals were discovered in the Pala District of San Diego County in California. Then, they were sent to a famed mineralogist George F. Kunz, who worked for Tiffany & Co. at the time.
He was the first to identify kunzite as a unique variety of spodumene and give a comprehensive description of the stone. Subsequently, Charles Baskerville, a chemistry professor at the University of North Carolina, named the gemstone after him.
However, spodumene was primarily used as a lithium source at the time, owing to the high quality and cost of the product. Once other lithium-rich deposits were discovered, the need for mineral-refined lithium started declining.
This led to spodumene becoming recognized as a gemstone-quality mineral in the 1990s. Due to its attractive appearance, kunzite became the most popular jewelry choice out of spodumene varieties. Before gaining mainstream popularity, gemstone collectors were the only ones interested in kunzite.
In the years since its discovery, kunzite has become a highly desirable gem. Its use in jewelry is still rising in popularity, owing to its unique shades. In addition, these crystals are often large, with relatively few inclusions. When cut properly, kunzite produces magnificent gems that work wonders in fine jewelry.
Nowadays, the original place of discovery – California’s San Diego County – remains a crucial source of kunzite. Other significant sources are in Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, Canada, and Australia.
Meaning Behind Kunzite
The unique color and texture of kunzite paved the way for many different interpretations of its meaning and properties.
It comes as no surprise that the pink-hued stone is commonly associated with feelings of love, devotion, and commitment.
Moreover, many believe that kunzite is deeply connected to the heart. It is said to open the heart and strengthens its communication with the mind. When you wear kunzite, you should be able to experience and reciprocate love better.
Also, kunzite is a symbol of deep spiritual peace. It calms the nerves while enhancing creativity and self-expression.
Some people also attribute healing properties to kunzite. As it is strongly related to the heart, it is thought that kunzite can help regulate the circulatory system and maintain the strength of the heart’s muscles.
Furthermore, its connection to the mind helps liberate the wearer from worry and anxiety. Some people believe its color radiates a serene composure, keeping negative moods at bay. It helps calm people down when emotions are running high.
Finally, although kunzite is not a traditional gemstone, some consider it an alternative birthstone for February. Traditionally, amethyst, the purple variety of quartz, assumes this role. Seeing how stunning it looks next to amethyst, it is no wonder some people opted for kunzite as their birthstone.
How to Clean Kunzite
You might believe in the healing properties of kunzite and wear it as a crystal. Alternatively, you might own a piece of jewelry with this striking gemstone. Whatever the case may be, it is essential to keep your kunzite clean.
Kunzite is a delicate stone that requires a gentle approach to cleaning. When cleaning kunzite, avoid:
- Scrubbing too hard.
- Using harsh cleaners, detergents, and chemicals. Instead, use warm soapy water and a soft cloth.
- Using steam cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners. These can easily damage the stone. Instead, wash the stone by hand.
While properly cleaning your kunzite is important, properly wearing and storing it might be even more crucial for the stone’s durability.
How to Wear and Store Kunzite
Kunzite is a relatively hard stone, measuring from 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. However, its distinct cleavage makes it prone to fracturing, splitting, and scratching easily. In fact, a single blow can cause a split if significant enough.
To avoid this unfortunate scenario, it would be best to remove any kunzite jewelry before engaging in sporting activities or manual labor. Also, you should store your kunzite jewelry in a separate cloth bag to avoid damage from other surrounding jewelry and materials. When traveling, keep the jewelry cushioned in a sturdier case that can absorb any potential drops or harsher impacts.
In addition, the color of kunzite tends to fade over time, especially with prolonged exposure to direct light. This significantly affects the storage of kunzite jewelry.
To avoid fading, store kunzite in dark and cool places. It is essential not to expose kunzite to direct light or heat sources. When wearing kunzite jewelry outside, try to stay away from direct sunlight.
Due to its sensitivity to light, some people choose only to wear their kunzite jewelry in the evening. For this reason, people sometimes refer to kunzite as the “evening gem.”
If you are getting ready for a special occasion and you would like to wear a piece of kunzite jewelry, we have another critical piece of advice. Put your jewelry on after dressing. This way, the chemicals from your hair and make-up products will not interfere with the stone.
Pros and Cons of Kunzite
Kunzite is a beautiful gemstone with a rich history. However, as with any other gemstone, there are both positive and negative aspects. Before deciding whether to purchase a kunzite gem or piece of jewelry, consider the following.
Pros of Kunzite
Although its beauty and rarity might suggest differently, kunzite is quite affordable. This makes it an excellent choice for engagement rings, as it will catch everyone’s eye without breaking the bank.
Even larger kunzite gems are still reasonably affordable. This is perfect as their size is considered to be another significant advantage. Since the cutting process is more challenging, kunzite gemstones are typically larger than other gems on the market.
Last but certainly not least, kunzite’s beauty is an advantage in its own right. The delicate pink nuances are feminine and seductive and can complement various skin tones. Above all, kunzite’s appeal lies in its clarity. As mentioned, kunzite crystals have relatively few inclusions, thus producing stunningly clean-finished gems.
Cons of Kunzite
The kunzite’s durability is undoubtedly its biggest flaw. Due to its gemological and color properties, kunzite requires special attention to how you wear, clean, or store kunzite jewelry.
Despite measuring upwards of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, kunzite is notoriously brittle. If not handled correctly, kunzite can easily fracture. In addition, the stone is highly susceptible to UV rays and sudden temperature changes. As a result, its famed color can fade when continuously exposed to unfavorable conditions.
In summary, if you are looking for low-maintenance jewelry, then kunzite might not be the best choice. However, this gemstone is sure to be a conversation starter. If you like to stand out, consider purchasing kunzite jewelry and saving it for special occasions and events.
Shop for Kunzite Jewelry
Estate Diamond Jewelry has been in business since 1980, and in that time, we’ve curated a large collection of Kunzite jewelry. If you want to see our full collection, feel free to reach out to us below.
Wesley Court Ring$9,900
Shopping Tips for a Kunzite
Kunzite is available in a wide variety of cuts and jewelry styles. It is also one of the few gems available in larger sizes at relatively affordable prices. There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for kunzite.
1. Avoid Purchasing Similar Gemstones by Mistake
Although attractive, kunzite is not as mainstream as other gemstones typically used for jewelry. Hence, it can suffer from a lack of consumer recognition. In addition, there are several similar-looking gemstones on the market, making the purchase even more confusing.
To help clear up the confusion, here is how you can differentiate between kunzite and other similar gemstones:
- Rose quartz: This gemstone lacks the clarity of kunzite, resulting in a cloudier appearance. In addition, it is more lilac in color, while kunzite is typically closer to a true pink.
- Pink topaz: Kunzite and pink topaz may have similar clarity, but they differ significantly in hardness. As pink topaz measures at 8 on the Mohs scale, it is reasonably easy to tell it apart from kunzite, which ranks at 7. Also, the pink color in pink topaz is usually much bolder and deeper.
- Morganite: This gemstone tends to be much warmer in color than kunzite. When it is pink, it is usually almost rose gold. However, the lilac varieties of morganite and kunzite may be more challenging to distinguish. But the morganite’s lilac color will still have a hint of warmth, unlike the color of kunzite.
- Synthetic pink sapphire: If you see products marketed as “rose kunzite,” they probably have nothing to do with kunzite. They are sometimes called “pink sapphires” and can be either sapphires or entirely synthetic products. Synthetic stones can retain their color better than kunzite, so these products are available on the market.
2. Choose the Right Color
Color is one of the deciding factors that affect the value of kunzite. As a rule of thumb, the more intense the color, the more valuable the stone.
Kunzite gets its color from manganese. Although the pink hues are typically the most sought after, you can go for violet variations, depending on your preferences and skin type.
Light-colored kunzite can also be treated to enhance its color. This is achieved by making it appear darker. The most common treatments are irradiation or heat treatment processes.
Purists may protest against these treatments, but they are usually impossible to detect. Suppose the bold color is your only priority. In that case, you can choose either a natural or enhanced color without a noticeable difference.
Peculiar colors are the only way to ensure kunzite has been treated. If a trader is offering a “natural blue kunzite” to you, know that there is nothing natural about it. To get blue and other similar colors, the gem has undergone various treatments.
3. Pay Attention to the Clarity
Kunzite crystals typically have no visible inclusions, so the finished gem is exceptionally clear. You will know your chosen piece of jewelry is valuable if the kunzite is glassy, transparent, and smooth in texture. In contrast, lower-quality kunzite is typically opaque or pearly white around the cleavage.
4. Find the Perfect Cut
Although exceptionally challenging to cut, skilled cutters have found a way to fashion kunzite in every imaginable style and shape. Choosing a cut boils down to your preferences.
However, regardless of the cut, you must pay special attention to storing your kunzite to keep it intact. The most crucial measure in preserving your perfect cut is to avoid shocking the stone.
5. Do Not Be Surprised by a Large Carat Weight
The considerable carat weight of your chosen kunzite should not alarm you, even if the piece is affordable. It is not unusual to find larger sizes of kunzite, owing to some impediments to the cutting process.
The color of kunzite is best displayed in 10-carat gems. Many consider this the ideal kunzite weight, particularly for statement jewelry pieces. However, the intense color can still be found in gems weighing less. Also, some buyers might prefer the more subtle and romantic feel of the lighter shades.
6. Buy From a Reputable Jeweler
When shopping for something as valuable as jewelry, it is always better not to take any chances and buy directly from a reputable jeweler. Here at Estate Diamond Jewelry, we offer a stunning collection of kunzite rings that can be your perfect engagement or cocktail ring.
Talk to a Jewelry Expert
Considering that kunzite is not as well-known as other similar gemstones, it might be challenging to find all the information to make an informed decision. Hopefully, our guide has explained everything you wanted to know about kunzite.
If you have any more questions regarding kunzite, please feel free to contact us. Our experts at Estate Diamond Jewelry will be more than happy to assist you in any way and guide you through the buying process. If you are more of a “show don’t tell” type of buyer, you can always schedule an appointment to see our collection in person.