January 2018 Newsletter: Fine Kunzite from Afghanistan

If you are looking for a fine pink gemstone in a very large size, kunzite may be just what you're looking for. While pink tourmaline can sometimes be found in large sizes, kunzite is common over 10 carats and specimens over 20 carats can often be found from specialized dealers. It's also a very affordable gem, even in large sizes.

Kunzite is the delicate pink or lilac color of the mineral spodumene, a lithium aluminum inosilicate. Spodumene is an important source of lithium for industrial use, and transparent material has long been popular for gemstones. As a gemstone, it has reasonably good hardness (6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale) and an attractive vitreous luster. High quality kunzite has good to excellent clarity, and most specimens will be eye clean to loupe clean.

The distinctive color of kunzite derives from traces of manganese. The color is typically pale to pastel, though occasionally more saturated pinks are found. Some kunzite in the market has had its color improved by heating or irradiation. Untreated stones with good color saturation are the most valuable.

Kunzite is strongly pleochroic. The top and bottom of the crystal reveal the deepest colors and gems are cut so the deepest pink is visible through table.

Kunzite was first discovered in the USA at the Pala mine in San Diego county in 1902 and identified by George Frederick Kunz, chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co. It was named in his honor. Most of the fine kunzite in the market now comes from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kunzite is not a well known gem in the commercial jewelry world. But its profile was raised considerably by the auction in 1996 of a kunzite ring from the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. John F. Kennedy had purchased the ring for his wife as a Christmas gift in 1963, shortly before he was tragically assassinated in November in Dallas. The 47 carat kunzite ring sold for more than $400,000 at a Sotheby's auction.

See our collection of Fine Kunzite from Afghanistan



Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature some affordable gems in large sizes, including kunzite, opal, danburite, citrine and amethyst. Click on a photo to see the details for the item.

25.30 ct Kunzite from Afghanistan
25.30 ct Kunzite from Afghanistan  [SOLD]
A large fancy-cut Kunzite with exceptional color saturation! This 25.30 ct Kunzite has wonderful transparency and perfect clarity and will make a very unique pendant. Guaranteed natural and untreated by AJS Gems, Bangkok.
16.72 ct Danburite from Mexico

Danburite is not well known, but it is a good jewelry stone (hardness of 7) that occurs in pale yellow, yellowish brown or light pink. But it is the clean colorless stones which are most popular as gemstones, particularly in larger sizes. This 16.72 ct Danburite from Mexico is completely clean and beautifully fashioned in a square cushion, at a very affordable price. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

21.93 ct Madeira Citrine from Brazil

A bright and sparkling large Citrine from Brazil in the lovely Madeira color. The rectangular shape and scissor cut shows off the color and perfect clarity of this gem Citrine. At 21 x 15 mm, this fine gem will setup beautifully in a cocktail ring or pendant. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

27.27 ct Amethyst from Uruguay

27.27 ct Amethyst from Uruguay  [SOLD]

An outstanding large Amethyst from Uruguay in a rich saturated purple. This is completely clean material and the extra facets of the portuguese provide additional brilliance. At about 21 x 18 mm, this is an impressive gem that will make a notable addition to your collection. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

33.46 ct Kunzite Pendant in 18k White Gold

33.46 ct Kunzite Pendant in 18k White Gold  [SOLD]

A stunning large Kunzite from Afghanistan set in an 18k white gold pendant! At over 33 carats and 26 x 14 mm, this pink Kunzite makes an impressive statement, set off by 46 diamonds with a total weight of 0.65 carats. A unique piece of fine jewelry from AJS Gems, Bangkok. 



News from AJS and the Gems World

Happy New Year 2018!

All the best for the new year to you and your family from all the staff at AJS Gems Thanks for making 2017 another very successful year for us, and we look forward to working with you on your future gem projects.

Stellar year for Gems & Jewelry at Major Auctions

Christie's and Sotheby's saw combined jewelry sales of more than USD $1 billion in 2017, with major pieces setting new auction records.

Christie's reported worldwide jewelry sales of $556.7 million while Sotheby's nearly matched them with sales of $551.3 million.



Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

Just curious, the 1.74 ct Mahenge spinel as well as the 3ct+ one on your website are from the "original material"?  JL, Hong Kong

Yes, that's correct. Most of our Mahenge spinels are from the original find in 2007. We were lucky to buy a good-sized parcel of rough stone when the original 52 kg stone was brought to Bangkok for cutting. The material from the original find has a distinctive neon glow that is not found in more recently discovered spinels from Tanzania. You'll find some more information about this very rare gem in our article here:

Rare Mahenge Spinel from Tanzania


I saw a picture of a Linde blue star sapphire that looked so beautiful. Can you tell me more about them? Do you ever get them? NS, USA

The Linde star sapphire is a synthetic sapphire that was produced by the Linde division of the Union Carbide Corporation in the USA from the late 1940's until 1974 when production was discontinued due to overseas competition. The Linde star sapphires had a very sharp and even star that was visible even under dim lighting. The star appeared to be "painted on", since it didn't move with the light source, making the gem look obviously artificial. Natural star sapphires have a star that is visible usually only under bright or focused lighting, and the star moves across the surface of the gem following the light. Linde stamped a small "L" on the base of each of their stones so that the public would know they are synthetic, but more recent synthetic stars usually have no such designation. We only deal in natural star sapphires.



All the best in gems,

Arnold, Rung & Ron