Kunzite was discovered in the United States in the early twentieth century and was named in tribute after George Kunz, the legendary gem scholar, gemologist, and gem buyer for Tiffany & Co. The first deposits were found in Connecticut, but the first significant deposits were found in the Pala region in California. Often times, kunzite is found with other pink gemstones such as pink tourmaline and morganite. Kunzite’s pink(liliac) to purple color is caused by manganese in the mineral. The gem is from the spodumene mineral, which is available in shades of green (hiddenite), and the pinkish variety (kunzite). It is difficult to cut kunzite to display the greatest amount of color. The beautiful pink color of kunzite can fade if exposed to strong light such as sunlight, heat can also fade the color of the stone. Kunzite is known for its large pieces, which have the darker and richer pink/violet color.
Kunzite is mined in Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar, Sweden, Manitoba/Canada, and the United States.
Properties, Treatments & Lab Created
Kunzite is rated a 6.5 – 7 on the Mohs scale.
Kunzite can be irradiated to bring out a deeper pink in gems, but this treatment can fade as with the natural color when exposed to strong sunlight. Mineral specimens that are brownish or green-violet in color can be heat treated to turn them the classic pink color of kunzite.
There is no lab created kunzite, but there are simulated stones and cubic zirconia. There are several glass and other synthetic material that has a similar color to the natural kunzite, but they are not in any way the same chemical composition as the kunzite gem.