Back to gem encyclopedia


Collectors love kunzite for its color range, from delicate pastel pink to intense violetish purple.

Responsive image
Beautiful Pink

Kunzite’s attractive color comes from trace amounts of manganese.

Responsive image

Kunzite displays different colors when viewed in different directions.

Responsive image
Cut Challenges

Kunzite can be difficult to cut because of its cleavage.

Responsive image
Responsive image

Kunzite cleaves in two directions, which can make cutting difficult.

Responsive image

Kunzite can fade with prolonged exposure to strong light.

Responsive image

Kunzite crystals typically have irregular terminations.

Responsive image


About Kunzite

About Kunzite

Kunzite is the best-known variety of the mineral spodumene. It’s named after famed gemologist George Frederick Kunz, who was the first to identify it as a unique variety of spodumene. Kunzite gets its delicate color from trace amounts of manganese. California’s San Diego County is an important source of kunzite.

Kunzite Description

Kunzite History and Lore

Kunzite Journey

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Some consider kunzite to be an alternate birthstone for February.


Kunzite is the best-known variety of spodumene. Others are green hiddenite and yellow triphane.

A “New” Gem

Kunzite was first recognized as a unique variety of spodumene around 1902.


The pegmatites that yield kunzite are also a source of lithium.


  • Mineral: Spodumene
  • Chemical composition: LiAlSi2O6
  • Color: Pink-violetish purple, light-intense
  • Refractive index: 1.660 to 1.676
  • Birefringence: 0.014 to 0.016
  • Specific gravity: 3.18
  • Mohs hardness: 6.5 to 7.0


There are a number of processes used to alter the color, apparent clarity, or improve the durability of gems.

Learn More


Some gemstones have synthetic counterparts that have essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties, but are grown by man in a laboratory.

Learn More


Any gem can be imitated—sometimes by manmade materials or by natural materials chosen by man to impersonate a particular gem.

Learn More
gem love

Why We Love This Gemstone


In spite of its rarity and beauty, kunzite can be quite affordable because it’s relatively unknown.


Kunzite is monoclinic and its crystals often take on a blade-like shape. Its rough form is dramatic.


Kunzites are found in pegmatite deposits, often along with tourmaline, beryl, and other gems.

Quality Factors

The following factors combine to determine a kunzite’s value.


quality factors

Color is kunzite’s most important value factor. The more vivid the color, the higher the value.


quality factors

Kunzite is usually very clean, so inclusions that affect its transparency can reduce the gem’s value.


quality factors

Skilled cutters can bring out kunzite’s beauty despite challenges from its two cleavage directions.

Carat Weight

quality factors

It’s not unusual to find kunzite in large sizes. This is an extremely large example that
weighs 648.10 carats.

Kunzite Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide


Explore sources, gemological research, and the role of gems in history.

Radioactive Irradiated Spodumene

George R. Rossman and Yuanxun Qiu , Jun 1, 1982 Read Article

A Status Report on Gemstones from Afghanistan

Gary W. Bowersox , Dec 1, 1985 Read Article

The Cutting Properties of Kunzite

John L. Ramsey , Dec 1, 1981 Read Article

Gem-Bearing Pegmatites: A Review

James E. Shigley and Anthony R. Kamp , Jun 1, 1984 Read Article