Spodumene

Category  :  Mineral
Hardness  :  6.5 - 7
Gravity  :  3.17-3.19
Reflection  :  1.67 / 1.66
Color  :  Highly variable: white, colorless, gray, pink, lilac, violet, yellow and green
Chemical formula  :  LiAl(SiO3)2
Crystal system  :  monoclinic
Major varieties  :  Kunzite, Hiddenite

Spodumene occurs in lithium rich granites and pegmatites. Transparent material has long been used as a gemstone with varieties kunzite and hiddenite noted for their strong pleochroism. Source localities include Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Pakistan and USA.

Kunzite

Kunzite is a pink to lilac colored gemstone, a variety of spodumene with the colour coming from minor to trace amounts of manganese. Some (but not all) kunzite used for gemstones has been heated to enhance its colour. It is also frequently irradiated to enhance the colour. Many kunzites fade when exposed to sunlight. It was discovered in 1902, and was named after George Frederick Kunz, Tiffany & Co's chief jeweller at the time, and a noted mineralogist. It has been found in Brazil, USA, Canada, CIS, Mexico, Sweden, Western Australia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Hiddenite

This is the green variety of spodumene, which has been known only for about a century and is named after A.E.Hidden, a mine owner in the United States. The best, and very rare, specimens are a bright, almost emerald green, with quite strong green to blue-green pleochroism; but Hiddenite may be rather dull, pale green or even green with a yellowish tinge. The step cut is the most common.


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