Kunzite Buying Guide
A challenge for lapidaries and a delight for collectors, kunzite jewelry is rare and delicate. As the pink to purple variety of spodumene, this gem can display soft or intense hues that buyers covet. However, kunzite will fracture with small impacts and is sensitive to heat, making this gem largely a collector’s stone. In addition, its color fades in sunlight. Still, with proper precautions kunzite makes a wonderful jewelry stone. Although somewhat rare, kunzite is available in large sizes at relatively low prices. Nevertheless, understanding this gem’s quality factors will benefit you on your next kunzite buying trip.
Kunzite Buying and the Four Cs
The IGS kunzite value listing has price guidelines for faceted kunzite.
Kunzite’s pink to purple color arises from trace amounts of manganese in the crystal structure and is often light in tone.
Darker tones of kunzite fetch a better price, with deep magenta colors holding the highest values. Furthermore, intense violet colors are rare and will sell for a good price.
Kunzite commonly receives step cuts, but some ambitious lapidaries cut these gems into intricate designs.
Because of the difficulties faced when cutting kunzite, small gems are rare. Kunzite can be found more readily in larger sizes.
When setting kunzite in jewelry, keep the stone’s fragility in mind. Although it has a relatively high hardness, at 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale depending on the crystal axis, this gem can easily fracture on impact and is sensitive to heat. Thus, kunzite is most suitable for earrings, pendants, and brooches.
Kunzite’s color fades in sunlight, and prolonged exposure will alter its appearance. Remember, wear kunzite jewelry only at night and store it in darkness.
Some gems receive radiation and heat treatments to deepen their color. After irradiation with cobalt-60, the spodumene crystal exhibits a deep green hue. Subsequent heat treatment then creates lovely pink and purple colors. However, treated gems usually receive heavy discounts.
Irradiation and heat treatments can also restore or deepen the color of a kunzite faded by exposure to sunlight.