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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Spodumene (var. kunzite)

This exceptional modified step-cut gem has a vibrant deeply saturated pinkish-purple color and is from a 2010 find at the Oceanview Mine in Pala, CA.
Photo by Greg Polley. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11409-00
Weight 164.11 ct

Kunzite gemstones are shades of violet and pink, caused by trace impurities of manganese. This variety of the mineral 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. The major sources of kunzite are Brazil, Afghanistan, Madagascar, and California. This exceptional modified step-cut gem has a vibrant deeply saturated pinkish-purple color and is from a 2010 find at the Oceanview Mine in Pala, CA. This 164.11 carat gem was acquired with funds from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation endowment in 2012.

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