Kunzite was first discovered in the USA by George Kunz who, amongst other things, traveled around the USA examining mining sites and described minerals that had not been previously known. Kunzite was unique at the time based on its color. The mineral spodumene had previously been discovered but not the pink/lavender variety. Of course since that time good quantities have been found notably in Brazil and Afghanistan. As with most pegmatite minerals quantities of kunzite available in the market can vary wildly according to mining production. One of the best analogies to understand mining economics of minerals like kunzite, tourmaline and aquamarine exists in casinos. Mining these minerals is similar in many ways to putting money into a slot machine. Miners start with a certain amount of capital and keep putting money into the project. They may or may not hit a jackpot before their capital runs out. Sometimes a miner will give up and the next miner into the same mine will hit the jackpot. Note the gem in the photo. This gem is a wonderful example of cut and color in kunzite. The piece is 50.50 carats and is very nicely cut.
Last post everybody loved the picture of the rough-uncut Morganite crystal. We decided to add in another photo of rough Morganite. This time you can see the more normal orange color that a lot of Morganite displays coming out of the ground. From certain mines the color is intense enough that cut stones show a nice color as-is. Some people like the peachy color. If you take these stones and put them out in the sun—especially a hot Brazilian sun—they will turn pink. Many people like the pink color. The pink color is stable and will not turn a different color in the sun. If a person wants to accelerate the color change from Peach to Pink all you have to do is put the stones in a kiln. Run the kiln up to about 900` and turn it off. This simply accelerates a natural process and is accepted and well known in the gem trade.
We’re making our books available for you to read—for free. Follow the links on the home page of http://www.ramseygems.com/ to our books. We are serializing the books so you can be part of the gem world right along with us. Gems can be appreciated on so many levels. Of course they are beautiful. However, there is so much natural history involved—geology, mineralogy—the very history of our planet. It’s like finding out your favorite movie star is also bright, kind, a real life hero (or heroine), a job creator and a philanthropist.
In previous posts we have talked about the lighter orange color in Spessartite. The stone in the photo is another color variant of Spessartite. This other color is a nice red-orange. The red-orange color is more affordable but in large sizes as this example still quite unusual.
This stone, from a while ago in our lives, is about 36+ carats. From time to time we like to illustrate the fact that many times even the less expensive color in a gem can often be really quite beautiful. Gem collecting doesn’t have to be exclusively for the rich and famous. Delving in a little deeper, Spessartine is a variety of garnet. Garnet is a group of minerals. All garnets are silicates, crystalize in the isometric system and are singly refractive. People sometimes ask “why don’t you call it Spessartine garnet.” The question is best answered by an example. We don’t, for instance, call a Blue-Jay a “Blue-Jay bird” or an Eagle an “Eagle bird.” It is understood that a Blue-Jay and an Eagle are birds. The only difference is that most people are not familiar with Spessartine.
Indicolite is one of the two blue color tourmalines. The other color is Paraiba type tourmaline. We’ve mentioned in the past that Paraiba type tourmaline is the most expensive of the tourmaline colors. In recollection though Indicolite is probably rarer. We’ve seen only very few Indicolite gems over 5 carats of truly highest quality. We’ve seen and owned many more pieces of the Paraiba type by comparison.
The gem in the photo is a great 12+ carat example of Indicolite. Typically an Indicolite will tend to be a fairly dark color. The better examples will be a somewhat dark color but not too dark—like the one in the photo. The best Indicolite I’ve seen so far was a Brazilian stone of over 50 carats—and still not too dark. The fellow who owned the stone (back about 1985 or so) wanted what would amount to $1,500,000 in today’s dollars. It was exceptional.
For a gem dealer nothing takes the place of going to the mining areas. The two gems you see pictured are ones we found by going to the right place. The cut stone is one piece of a small lot of 3 pieces we bought many years ago in Brasil. The color is truly amazing and truly a collectible color. The stone is over 10 carats in weight. According to prices seen fairly recently for similar (but not quite as good) gems—it is worth several thousand dollars per-carat. This is a color and size and clarity in Imperial Topaz very seldom seen available for sale
A number of our established clients know about spinel. Spinel is a relatively unknown gem. It has been unknown at least partly because it is very rare. It is chemically related to corundum (ruby/sapphire) in that spinel and corundum both have aluminum as a major component. In corundum is largely aluminum while spinel has both magnesium and aluminum in it. Due to its rarity spinel can be quite expensive. Due to a lot of writing about spinel in the last 10 years people’s awareness of spinel is greater than ever driving up spinel prices even more. Even back in the 1980’s large red spinels could reach prices in the thousands of dollars per-carat. One example of that is the gem in the photo. The gem in the photo is a little over 12 carats. That gem came through our hands back in the mid-1980’s and at the time was worth about $3,000-per-carat. You can only imagine how much it is worth now!!!
Over the past years and especially over the past decade much has been written about spinel so there is at least some awareness of the gem. When we were first in the business spinel was only known to come from Sri-Lanka and Southeast Asia—found amongst the ruby and sapphire deposits. Since that time some wonderful gems have come from East Africa and the Pamir mountains in Central Asia—a mountain range in confluence with the Himalayas.