How to Tell If a Gem Is a Kunzite?

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Kunzite is usually pink in color and often comes in large sized stones.
Kunzite is usually pink in color and often comes in large sized stones. (Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Kunzite was discovered in 1902 in California and named after the gemologist George F. Kunz. The gemstone comes from the mineral spodumene and Kunzite is usually found in large sizes of up to eight carats. Kunzite was discovered in the United States but since its discovery other sites in Brazil, Madagascar and Pakistan have known working mines for this gem. Kunzite exhibits the pleochroism effect, which means that when it is viewed at different angles it will show different colors. Kunzite is a relatively affordable gemstone which can be made into a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Color

Check the color of your gemstone carefully. A Kunzite gem will be pink to a pinkish violet in color.

Check the shade of the gemstone, as some Kunzite will be of a lighter shade of pink, these tend to be sold at a cheaper price than the richer pink toned Kunzite.

Move the gemstone around in your hands and look at it from different angles. If you see different colors in the gemstone as you move it around then the gemstone has the pleochroism effect and it is more likely to be genuine Kunzite. Kunzite has a refractive index of 1.66 - 1.68, as compared to a diamond which has a refractive index of 2.417.

Examine the top of your gemstone, this should be a very pink color, as Kunzite stone cutters always cut it so that the angle at the top shows the most pink color.

Size, Hardness, Texture

Check the size of the gemstone. If the gemstone is small and cut into a ring or other small piece of jewelry, it is much less likely to be Kunzite. Kunzite usually comes cut into larger sizes and is used in pendants or is used for rings with substantial sized stones.

Check how hard your gemstone is, this should probably be done by a professional jeweler, as a genuine Kunzite gemstone is quite fragile and will chip or break if struck hard. On the Mohs hardness scale for gemstones, Kunzite is between 6 and 7, a diamond in comparison is 10 on the Mohs scale.

Examine the feel of the gemstone. It should have a smooth surface. Kunzite has a very good cleavage, which means that it splits along very definite crystalline planes that produce a smooth surface. This means that it is very difficult to facet therefore it is most often hand cut.

Tips & Warnings

  • Kunzite has the very unique property of fading when exposed to strong light or heat. This means that if Kunzite is made into jewelry it should only be worn at night or indoors.
  • Kunzite should not be exposed to strong sunlight or heat. For example Kunzite should not be left in a parked car on a hot day.
  • Kunzite should always be cleaned by a professional jeweller as certain products can damage the Kunzite.

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