Spodumene Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Extraordinarily difficult to cut, spodumene has several colorful varieties, such as hiddenite and kunzite, highly coveted for jewelry.
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Spodumene is from the Greek word spodumenos which means "burnt to ashes." This is a reference to its most common color. You will rarely find gray spodumene cut as gems, but the other colors can be spectacular.
Kunzite is the pink variety of spodumene. It is primarily from Afghanistan. Strongly pleochrotic, the crystals are colorless on the long axis and pink to violet down the C axis. The stronger the color, the higher the value, but large gems are available at moderate prices.
Yellow spodumene is found in Brazil and Afghanistan, with the strongest colors coming from the latter.
Blue, blue/green and green stones are found in a number of localities. The blue stones fade when exposed to light, so they are only suitable as collector's items.
Hiddenite is a medium dark green, darker than from other localities, first found in North Carolina, USA. The gems cut from it are rarely over two carats and is highly valued.
King's Mountain, North Carolina; Maine; Connecticut; Massachusetts.
Etta Mine, South Dakota: immense white to gray crystals, up to 40 feet long, embedded in rock.
Pala District, California: fine kunzite, gem quality, plus yellow-green spodumenes.
Hiddenite, North Carolina: type locality for emerald-green spodumene; also at Stony Point, North Carolina: this material contains Cr and shows Cr spectrum.
Madagascar: kunzite, green and yellow spodumene, gem quality.
Minas Gerais, Brazil: major gem locality for kunzite, yellow spodumene, some green. Material from Brazil contains no Cr, and green varieties are not hiddenite.
Afghanistan: all colors, some very large crystals; gem quality.
Myanmar: gem quality.
Spodumene has perfect cleavage in two directions, making it exceptionally difficult to cut. One also has to consider this when creating jewelry. The cleavage direction is right on the girdle, so great care needs to be taken when tightening prongs. (See Cutting Kunzite for more information.) Also consider how it will be worn. It only takes a little shock to split a stone on the cleavage.
- Kunzite pink to violet
- Hiddenite green
- Triphane yellow
Donald Clark, CSM IMG
The late Donald Clark, CSM founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald started in the gem and jewelry industry in 1976. He received his formal gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Society of Gemcutters (ASG). The letters “CSM” after his name stood for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, a designation of Wykoff’s ASG which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored the book “Modern Faceting, the Easy Way.”
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