Proper Orientation for Cutting Kunzite

The most important part of cutting any delicate gem is proper orientation. Kunzite has cleavage planes that run up and down the C-axis. For the best color, you’ll need to place the table on the C-axis. That will put the cleavage plane right on the girdle, which is a particular source of trouble. However, there is an easy way to minimize it.

For the sake of illustration, let’’s assume you have a rectangular piece of rough. You want to put it in the faceting machine so the cleavage is oriented to the 0 index. An emerald-cut shape with this orientation would be impossible. Every time you’d try to cut a girdle facet it would splinter on you. I point this out primarily so you know what to avoid.

cleavage plane

The trick here is to cut an oval or cushion, where the girdle facets are a couple of teeth off the cleavage plane. If you work this slowly, you can easily cut it without breakage. (It’s helpful to pre-polish and polish the girdle while the facets are still thick, before moving on to the pavilion facets).

orientation

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