Cutting kunzite and other minerals with easy cleavage is a major challenge. Many gem cutters shy away from these materials because they lack the knowledge or proper techniques. Here are a few tips to make working with these gemstones easier.

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.

cutting kunzite - cleavage

The trick here is to cut an oval or cushion, where the girdle facets are a couple of teeth off…