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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Picasso Kunzite Necklace

Picasso Kunzite Necklace. Modified cushion step-cut light purple red spodumene (var. kunzite) (396.3 ct) in a necklace. Lot described as
Photo by Laurie Minor-Penland. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G9956-00
Locality Afghanistan
Weight 396.3 ct

Gift of Tiffany & Co. in 1989.This object was designed by Paloma Picasso and made by Tiffany & Co.

This 396.30ct kunzite gem from Afghanistan adorns the necklace that Paloma Picasso designed in 1986 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Tiffany & Co. This gem variety of the mineral spodumene was first found in Pala, California, in 1902 and was later named after American gemologist George F. Kunz. Kunz was a gem expert with Tiffany & Co. for 53 years, rising to the position of Vice President. Kunzite gemstones are typically shades of violet and pink, caused by trace impurities of manganese. The gem exhibits strong pleochroism: when viewed from different directions, the color of a kunzite crystal or gem can appear pale pink, nearly colorless to greenish, or intensely pink. Gem cutters must take this phenomenon into account so that the finished gem will show the deepest pink color. Some kunzites fade when exposed to light and can turn almost colorless. Consequently kunzite is known as the “evening stone” and should not be exposed for long periods to bright light, especially sunlight. This cushion cut kunzite is set in an 18k yellow gold and diamond ribbon motif pendant suspended from a necklace of 30 South Sea baroque pearls. Tiffany & Co. gifted the necklace to the Smithsonian Institution, and it is on exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History.



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