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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Spodumene (var. kunzite)

Heart-shaped medium-to-light purplish-pink spodumene (var. kunzite) weighing 880ct
Photo by Chip Clark. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G3940-00
Locality Brazil
Weight 880 ct

Obtained in an exchange in 1964.

Kunzite gemstones are shades of violet and pink, caused by trace impurities of manganese. This variety of spodumene was first discovered in Pala, California, in 1902, and was later named for the American gemologist George F. Kunz. Generally, the value of kunzite increases with the richness of color. Kunzite gems must be cut relatively large to show a strong body color; small stones typically appear very light pink at best. Some kunzites fade in color upon exposure to light and can turn almost colorless. Consequently kunzite is known as an “evening stone,” and should not be exposed for long periods to bright light, especially sunlight. This 880ct heart-shaped kunzite is from Brazil. The major sources of kunzite are Brazil, Afghanistan, Madagascar, and California.


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