The Feminine, Flower-Like Appeal of Romantic Kunzite
When it comes to gemstones that evoke feelings of romance, few can rival the delicate beauty of kunzite. This gemstone boasts a soft pastel pink to violet hue that’s both ultra feminine and enchanting, a color that seems to capture the very essence of love and passion. Coupled with its exceptional transparency and radiance, it’s no wonder kunzite is a highly desirable for jewelry designers and gemstone enthusiasts alike.
Kunzite is a variety of spodumene, a lithium aluminum inosilicate mineral, while trace amounts of manganese give it its distinctive pink and lilac coloration. It also has a vitreous luster, and its transparent clarity allows light to refract through it, creating a beautiful sparkle that draws attention to its wearer. The unique optical properties of kunzite make it highly prized for use in faceted cuts, especially the emerald and oval cuts, which allow the light to play and dance across the stone’s facets. Kunzite is also highly durable, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for everyday wear.
Kunzite is formed from the crystallization of magma and can be found in pegmatites, which are rare, coarse-grained igneous rocks that contain high concentrations of rare minerals. It’s typically found in association with other lithium minerals such as spodumene, lepidolite and amblygonite, and is often found in large crystals, which are perfect for use in jewelry.
Kunzite is named after the American mineralogist George Frederick Kunz, who discovered the stone in 1902 in the Pala District of San Diego County, Calif. Today, kunzite is found in many locations worldwide, including Brazil, Afghanistan, Madagascar and the United States. However, kunzite from Afghanistan is widely considered to be the finest quality, prized for its vivid and intense pink hues.
Kunzite is steeped in symbolism and lore, and is associated with a range of meanings and properties. In ancient times, kunzite was believed to have a calming and soothing effect on the wearer, and to promote feelings of love, peace and harmony. It’s also thought to promote spiritual growth, enhance creativity and aid in meditation. As a birthstone for those born in February, kunzite is said to represent intuition, purity and compassion, making it the perfect gift for anyone born under the sign of Pisces.
While kunzite is a naturally occurring gemstone, it’s sometimes treated to enhance its color and clarity. Heat treatment is the most common method of enhancing kunzite, and it can deepen its color and improve its transparency, giving it a more vibrant and lively appearance.
One of the most famous kunzite stones is the 880-carat kunzite discovered by Kunz in Pala, Calif. This massive stone was originally sold to Tiffany & Co. and later acquired by the Smithsonian Institution. The stone is now on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where it continues to captivate visitors with its stunning size and beauty.
Another famous kunzite is the 118-carat stone that once belonged to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. This exquisite gemstone was set in a platinum necklace and surrounded by diamonds, creating a stunning piece of jewelry that perfectly showcased its delicate pink hue. The necklace was a favorite of Mrs. Kennedy Onassis and was often worn at formal events, adding a touch of glamour and sophistication to her already impeccable style.
In recent years, kunzite has also become a favorite of high-end jewelry designers, who use it to create unique and eye-catching pieces that stand out from the crowd. One such piece is the 2015 Kunzite and Diamond Necklace by Cindy Chao, which features a stunning kunzite surrounded by diamonds in a sculptural design that perfectly showcases the stone’s delicate beauty. The necklace sold at auction for a record-breaking $1.2 million, cementing kunzite’s status as a gemstone of unparalleled elegance and beauty.
Kunzite is typically sold by weight, with the average size of a kunzite gemstone being around five carats. The price of kunzite varies depending on its quality, with the finest specimens commanding high prices. The price per carat ranges from around $50 for lower-quality stones to upwards of $1,000 or more for top-quality stones.
Today, kunzite can be found in a range of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. It’s a popular gemstone for engagement rings and is often set in platinum or white gold to showcase its delicate pink hues. Kunzite is also a favorite of high-end jewelry designers who use it to create unique and eye-catching pieces that stand out from the crowd.
In conclusion, kunzite is a truly breathtaking gemstone with a delicate and romantic beauty that captivates anyone who beholds it. Its distinctive coloration, special properties and durability make it a highly prized gemstone for jewelry, and its rich history and symbolism make it a meaningful and treasured gift. Whether set in an engagement ring or worn as an everyday accessory, kunzite is a gemstone that will continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of gemstone lovers for generations to come.
Photo of kunzite courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America