Coming Up Roses
You may not be too familiar with these stunning pink gemstones just yet, but there's no doubt they are the perfect jewels to add some history and romance to your collection.
What is Kunzite?
Kunzite is one of three varieties of the mineral Spodumene—but the only one you’ll likely every find in a piece of jewellery. Its unique name comes from the well-known gemologist George Frederick Kunz (who famously worked for Tiffany & Co.), and discovered a large deposit of the mineral in California in 1902.
Kunzite is a stunning gem that is found in light pink to violet hues. While watercolour-like colours are beautiful (and currently quite popular), in general, the more intense the saturation of this gem, the more valuable and prized it is.
Kunzite is most often mined in Afghanistan, Madagascar, Brazil and the U.S. state of California. Fine qualities of Kunzite remain quite rare, and even though it is highly valued by both gem collectors and jewellery designers, its low supply levels make it quite uncommon, and therefore still relatively unknown to many.
Kunzite is sometimes heat treated to improve it’s rosy colour, however keep in mind that regardless of whether it’s been treated or not, Kunzite has the very unique trait of sometimes fading when exposed to high heat or extreme light, so be cognizant of how you are storing these jewels when you’re not wearing them. It also rates a 6.5-7 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale and has cleavage in two directions, meaning it has the potential to chip or split if it were to suffer a hard hit. However, mindful care and a well-made and protective setting can ensure this lovely gem stays in optimal condition for a lifetime. (Get our best tips for storing and caring for your jewellery.)
What is Morganite?
Spodumene is often compared to Beryl, because they naturally occur in similar colours. Similar to Kunzite, Morganite is a rosy pink gemstone, which is a variety of Beryl (along with Emerald and Aquamarine.) These two gems also share similar origin stories when it comes to their namesake, and were even discovered around the same time. Morganite was actually named after another American gem enthusiast, and colleague of George Kunz, J.P. Morgan. Morgan, of course, was a famous financier with a love of mineral collecting, and in 1910, Kunz actually bestowed the name Morganite on this rosy mineral.
Finding Morganite, which gets its pink colour from manganese, in highly saturated hues is very rare, but it can vary from a light pink, to more salmon, peach and orangey colours, as well. In these combinations, it can even look similar to Padparadscha Sapphires. Similar to Kunzite, heat treatment is often used to intensify Morganite’s colour, and sometimes nix any yellow or orange tint. Unlike Kunzite, Morganite’s colour is stable and has no risk of fading when exposed to UV light or heat.
Some of the best Morganite on the market is known to come from Madagascar, though these specimens are now seldom available. Other major sources include Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia and the U.S. Similar to Aquamarine, Morganites grow in pegmatites, and can be found in excellent transparency and in very large crystal sizes. This makes them an especially good fit for cocktail rings, and excellent value for your money regardless of how you choose to include them in your jewellery collection. Of course, their beautifully romantic colours also make both of these unique and uncommon gemstones a lovely and thoughtful choice for engagement and anniversary rings and gifts.