Kunzite Quality Factors

Kunzite Crystal and Faceted Stones
This kunzite crystal is accompanied by faceted kunzites ranging in weight from 12.47 to 19.32 carats. - Robert Weldon
Kunzite can be found in a wide variety of jewellery styles to suit every buyer. Always attractive, it suffers somewhat from a lack of consumer recognition. However, this can translate to reasonable prices at the counter. In its largest sizes and finest colours, kunzite appeals to discriminating collectors.

Kunzite is the pink-to-violet variety of the mineral spodumene, and gets its colour from manganese. It’s most often found in shades of pale pink, but more vivid colours are possible and it can achieve rare hues of vivid violet to purple.

Colour Range - Cut Kunzite
The colour of kunzite can range from very pale to medium shades of pink and violet. In rare cases, kunzite is found in more intense hues. - Robert Weldon, courtesy Pala International
Kunzite’s colour can be enhanced by irradiation followed by heating. Whether natural or enhanced, the colour can fade when exposed to heat and intense light. It’s a good idea to store kunzite jewellery in a closed jewellery box or case when it’s not being worn.

Pink Kunzite - Cut Stones
These kunzites show the gem’s lovely shades of pink. - Robert Weldon
Kunzite is pleochroic, which means it can display different colours in different crystal directions. Kunzite displays its best, most intense colour down the length of its crystals.

Kunzite Rough Crystal
Kunzite’s colour is most concentrated down the length of its crystal. This crystal from the Oceanview mine in Pala, California, displays a vivid purple. - Brendan Laurs
Kunzite crystals often have relatively few inclusions, so “clean” finished gems in jewellery are common.

Clean Finished Kunzite - Quality Factors
This kunzite’s cut shows off its inclusion-free nature. - Robert Weldon
The cutter of this kunzite made creative use of the needle-like inclusions by making them into a design element. - Orasa Weldon
Kunzite can present problems for cutters. It has two directions of cleavage, which means that the gem can split cleanly along those directions. As a result, kunzite has been known to simply fall apart from the pressure applied during faceting. In addition, kunzite’s colour is usually concentrated down its length, or C-axis. Cutters must factor these properties into their plans when fashioning gems.

Kunzite appears in a wide variety of shapes and cutting styles. Because many crystals are relatively inclusion-free, step-cut stones are fairly common.

Step Cut Kunzite
This kunzite is a modified step cut. - Maha Tannous, courtesy Roland Reed
Round-Brilliant Cut Kunzite
This round kunzite displays a lovely, lively brilliant cut.
Skilled cutters have fashioned kunzite into every imaginable shape and style. Some have even carved the gem. Also, many kunzites are cut deep to maximise the colour.

Carved Kunzite Gem - Quality Factors
These gems were carved by Dalan Hargrave. The gem in the centre is a kunzite. The others are varieties of quartz: #2 is a citrine and #4 is an ametrine. - Eric Welch, courtesy Dalan Hargrave
Carat Weight
Kunzite is often found in large sizes. The Smithsonian Institution houses a faceted 880-carat heart-shaped example.

Cut Kunzite with Dime - Quality Factors
This kunzite from Minas Gerais, Brazil, weighs 648.10 carats. It’s shown next to a dime to demonstrate scale. - Robert Weldon, courtesy M. Meienhalder