Kunzite Rough Specimen
SPODUMENE (var. KUNZITE)
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Spodumene, pronounced SPOD-uh-mean, has been known since antiquity and was recognized as a mineral species and named in 1893. Kunzite, pronounced KOON-zite, was first described as a rare variety of spodumene in 1903. The name “spodumene” stems from the Greek spodos, meaning “ashy” and alluding to its soft transparency; kunzite is named after the American gemologist George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932), who first described it. Kunzite is collected in Brazil, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Madagascar, China, Russia, and the United States (North Carolina, South Dakota, Maine, California).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Kunzite [lithium aluminum silicate, LiAlSi2O6] is a pyroxene-group mineral that crystallizes in the monoclinic system and occurs as deeply striated, flattened, lath-like crystals and cleavage masses. It has a Mohs hardness of 6.5-7.0, a specific gravity of 3.1-3.2, good cleavage in two directions, a vitreous-to-pearly luster, and an uneven fracture. Kunzite is translucent to transparent, with a pale-pink to pale-lilac color. It occurs only in granite pegmatites.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Non-gem forms of kunzite were formally a minor ore of lithium. Transparent kunzite crystals are faceted into beautiful and very valuable gems. Metaphysical practitioners believe that kunzite calms nervousness, helps children adjust to, and function in, life, and relieves the heartache that follows loss or separation.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Kunzite is collected for its rarity, soft transparency, delicate pink-to-lilac colors, and association in composite specimens with other pegmatite mineral