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Formula:   LiAl(Si2O6)   mineral photo

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Crystal:   Monoclinic  
Hardness:   6.5-7  
Spec. Gr.:   3.1-3.2  
Streak:   White  
Cleavage:   Prismatic cleavage  
Location:   Pala,
San Diego County,

Frederick M. Sickler first discovered kunzite, a pink variety of spodumene, in 1902 at the White Queen Mine just north of Pala, San Diego County, California. It was named after George F. Kunz, a noted gem expert and Vice President of Tiffany's jewelry store in New York City. For many years, the best kunzite crystals came from San Diego County mines. In recent years discovery of new deposits of gem-quality material were found at Laghman, Afghanistan; the Urupuca mine at Fazenda Anglo, Brazil; Anajanboana, Madagascar; and in the Xinjiang autonomous region of China. Kunzite has two strong cleavages and therefore is very difficult to cut into gems. Some kunzites have a tendency to fade in color. However, most fine quality faceted Kunzite is eagerly sought by the public.

Bibliography: Sinkankis, John, Gemstones of North America, 1959, V1.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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