Thursday, July 24, 2008


The first piece of Kunzite jewellery I ever saw was designed by Paloma Picasso. It was an emerald cut stone wrapped in pave diamond gold bows and suspended from a South Sea pearl necklace. It was lust at first sight.
Natural Kunzite crystal from Pech, Laghman Province of Afghanistan
9cm x 5.1 cm, selling for $2,450 at the Tucson Gem Show 2007
The first significant desposit was discovered in 1902 on the White Queen mining claim near Pala, San Diego, California by Fred Sickler. There was also another deposit found at the Pala Chief mine by Frank Salmons. So for a time, the gem was named "Sicklerite" and "Salmonite" until Carles Baskerville, a chemistry professor at the University of North Carolina, named it "Kunzite" in honour of George Kunz. Baskerville worked on the analysis of the stone in 1903 while Kunz was describing the new crystal for the American Journal of Science. Ten year later the gem was being marketed under the trade name of "California Iris" but by 1919, Kunzite became the recognised name.
Faceted Kunzite

Kunzite is a variety of Spodumene. The lilac colour is due to minute traces of manganese but the colour can fade in strong sunlight.
It has a hardness between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale. It has perfect cleavage and, like diamond, a sharp blow in the wrong place can shatter it in two. To show its colour to full advantage, the cutter must align the raw crystal very precisely which makes it a difficult stone to cut and almost impossible to re-cut. The stone can appear violet, pink or colourless. Some stones from Afghanistan show rich violet, light violet to light green, depending on the viewing angle. An effect known as 'pleochroism' or 'multi-colouredness'.
Apart from this internal colouring, the stone reflects a silvery gloss on the facets. The more intense the color, the more valuable the stone but clarity also determines value.
Today Kunzite is mined in Brazil, Afghanistan and Madagascar.

Kunzite cabochons set with quartz cabochon
with pave set diamonds in a gold ring

Mystical Lore
It's a precious stone for lovers. It's said to enhance a person's capacity for devotion and understanding.
The delicate violet pink is regarded as "healing", radiating a serene composure and bestowing inner peace and joie de vivre on the wearer.
It's also said to activate the mind and liberate it from worry and anxiety, having a positive effect on relieving strain or nervous tension.

Faceted Kunzite with multi-coloured sapphires
with cream pearls in a five strand bracelet


Brian Hughes said...

Kunzite? Pronounced...kunzite? I'm not saying a word.

JahTeh said...

The World is going to end!
Fleetwood without a word!
And don't think I don't know what you were thinking either!

Jayne said...

I'll have a dozen of everything pictured in your post and then some more ;)
And a chair for my shocked bum as Brian is wordless!

River said...

The Kunzite is a pretty stone, but I don't like the pictured jewellery. It's too fussy. I think such a glittery stone needs a simpler setting, it gets a little lost with so much else around it.

Never ever thought I'd see Brian speechless.

Middle Child said...

How beautiful are those stones? It always amazes me to think that such light filled beautiful colours are formed between layers of rock and under tonnes of dirt... thanks

JahTeh said...

Jayne, I'd be happy with a big chunk of natural stone sitting on my coffee table.

River, I wish I could have found the first piece. It was a simple bow with diamonds on top of an emerald cut Kunzite which hung from the pearls.

Ever been prospecting at Craggy Island, Therese? You might be surprised at what's lurking under your feet.

Trust Fleetwood to take over the comments just by shutting up.