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19thC Antique 7¾ct Afghani Kunzite Ancient Russia India Color-Shift Amethyst #56771

Cost: $ 269.99


Antique Genuine Natural Russian/Afghani Seven and Three-Quarter Carat Faceted Green Kunzite Semi-Precious Gemstone.

CLASSIFICATION: Faceted Green Kunzite.

ORIGIN: Afghanistan. 19th Century.

SIZE: Length: 11mm. Width: 10 1/2mm. Depth: 9mm. All measurements approximate.

WEIGHT: 7.77 carats.

NOTES: Upon request we can set your gemstones as a ring, pendant, or as earrings.

DETAIL:
Well known to Indian and Russian jewelers of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, but “newly discovered” in America in the twentieth century, kunzite, especially violet to pink shades of kunzite have become enormously popular in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Originally believed to be a variety of “pink amethyst” in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, it is a rare and gorgeous gemstone which typically can shift colors between pink-violet, and (depending on how it is cut) on occasion, yellow or green (which is sometimes referred to as “hiddenite”). It is noted for its feminine and alluring hues which range between pastel pinks and violets to intense, almost “neon” hues. Depending on the cut, it can also possess incredible sparkle and brilliance. It was known in Central Asia and in Eastern Europe as early as the sixteenth century from sources in Afghanistan and Russia. There are also references to it in ancient Hindu texts, where it was referenced as having been produced in what is present-day Pakistan.

Kunzite is noted for its feminine and alluring hues which range between pastel pinks and violets to intense, almost “neon” hues. Depending on the cut, it can also possess incredible sparkle and brilliance. This particular specimen originated in Afghanistan, and was hand crafted and faceted by a 19th century Russian artisan, part of an heritage renown for the production of the elaborate gemstones and jewelry of the Czars of Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian Russia. The faceted cut is a coarse, lumpy, and not quite perfectly round precursor to what eventually became known in the industry as a “brilliant cut” round, the contemporary finish generally given to round diamonds. As you can see in these photo enlargements, the gemstone is not without blemish (of course absolutely flawless gemstones are very rare in nature, they typically turn out to be synthetic “lab” gems).

Though it is vividly hued, and very large, close scrutiny will reveal some small fine strands of particulate matter blemishing the gemstone. However to the cursory glance of the casual admirer, it is clean to the eye, or nearly so, and seemingly without blemish. You have to examine the gemstone fairly closely to discern the blemishes it possesses. Under magnification the gemstone shows the unmistakable characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the 19th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, most serious collectors consider such gemstones more desirable, possessed of greater character and uniqueness when compared to today's cookie-cutter mass-produced machine-faceted gemstones.

Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones, the cut and finish of a gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago. The gemstone has great luster and sparkle, and it is absolutely transparent. However the gemstone is clearly not flawless. Of course flawless gemstones are usually not the product of Mother Nature. Flawless gemstones tend to be the hallmark of synthetic, or man-made gemstones. The blemishes this natural gemstone possesses are not immediately discerned by the casual admirer, though anything more than a cursory glance will reveal a few blemishes. But to the casual admirer it is simply a nicely color, BIG gemstone. However magnified as it is here in the accompanying photo enlargements you can see some these minor blemishes within the gemstone as well as occasional irregularities in the finish.

However these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques even possible then, let alone in practice, did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so commonplace today. Keep in mind two centuries ago mankind was more or less limited to surface deposits or near surface deposits of gemstones. Higher quality gemstones which today are routinely mined from beneath hundreds of meters, even kilometers beneath the earth's surface, were simply inaccessible then.

For these reasons antique gemstones must be appreciated as antiques first, gemstones second. The relatively superlative quality of contemporary gemstones routinely mined from deep beneath the earth's surface today were simply not accessible two centuries ago, or at least, only rarely so. However for most, the unique nature and character of antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for minute blemishes and irregular cutting/faceting which by and large, if at all, are only visible under high magnification.

HISTORY OF KUNZITE: Kunzite is an unusual and rare gemstone. It is the pink or violet-colored variety of the spodumene family, cousin to hiddenite (green spodumene) and triphane (yellow or colorless spodumene). It was known in Central Asia and in Eastern Europe as early as the sixteenth century from sources in Afghanistan and Russia. It was believed by Russian jewelers to be a variety of pink amethyst. There are also references to it in ancient Hindu texts, where it was referenced as having been produced in what is present-day Pakistan. Kunzite was first “discovered” (officially at least, as reported in Western sources) in America at the Pala Chief Mine near San Diego, California. The “newly discovered” gemstone was named after Tiffany’s chief gemologist George Frederick Kunz, who was the first to give a comprehensive (and published) description of the gemstone shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. Another spodumene variety “discovered” in America few decades prior to kunzite was named “hiddenite”, after A. E. Hidden, who was one of the original mine owners wherein this spodumene variety was found (in North Carolina).

By whatever name, kunzite, hiddenite, and triphane are all still best known to geologists as “spodumene” (first described in literature in 1800 A.D.). The name spodumene is derived from the Greek spodumenos, which meant “burnt to ashes”, in reference to spodumene's commonly occurring light gray color. Spodumene is a major source of lithium, trace amounts of which is what gives it its pink color; violet undertones are created by traces of manganese. Lithium has a great variety of uses including in the manufacture of lubricants, ceramics, batteries, welding supplies, experimental fuels and in anti-depressant drugs. Kunzite displays two unusual characteristics; “phosphorescence” whereby kunzite, in this respect similar to diamond, is observed to glow in a darkened room after it has been exposed to the sun’s ultra-violet rays; and “pleochroism”, showing two different colors when viewed from different directions. Kunzite is actually trichroic, meaning it can appear up to three different colors, depending on the angle from which it is viewed. It can appear very strongly violet from one angle, light purple/violet/pink from another, and pale green or colorless from a third angle of view.

Kunzite commonly shows violet, pink, yellow or green hues depending upon the orientation of the cut gemstone. Transparent spodumenes of pink to violet color (kunzite) and yellowish-green to medium deep green (hiddenite) are used as gemstones. Kunzite is particularly noteworthy for its feminine and alluring hues which range between pastel pinks and violets to intense, almost “neon” hues. Depending on the cut, it can also possess incredible sparkle and brilliance. Kunzite is presently mined in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Australia, Mozambique, Nigeria and Madagascar. It is often found in association with other two semi-precious pink gemstones; morganite and pink tourmaline. The largest known faceted kunzite gemstones include a 614 carat pear at the University of Delaware's mineral museum, and an 880 carat gemstone on display in the Smithsonian Institution's collection in Washington D.C.

Kunzite was virtually unknown to the American public until the Sotheby's auction of a very special kunzite ring in 1996. Among the jewelry from the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a ring with a 47 carat cushion cut kunzite stone surrounded by 20 round diamonds set in 18k gold. The ring was originally purchased by President John F. Kennedy as a Christmas gift for his wife in 1963. The ring was never “presented” by the President to his wife, as he was assassinated the month prior to Christmas (in November 1963). Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement.

In the ancient world kunzite was traditionally worn as a talisman which was believed to bring good luck to the wearer. Its soft pastel colors also came to symbolize purity. New age shamans and metaphysical practitioners regard it as a symbol of new life, specifically pregnancy, and believe that it also opens the path to spirituality for new wearers, revealing the inner soul and the “purpose” of their incarnation. It is also believed to help the wearer understand and interact better with others, to help heal "broken hearts" (and is considered especially beneficial for those who have experienced a failed relationship or marriage), to relieve stress and anger, dissolve negativity, and to bring love, peace and harmony. It is also said to be useful for increasing the wearer’s inner strength and sense of self worth, for removing emotional blockages originating in past (i.e., childhood) experiences. It is also said to stimulate sensitivity and sensuality. It is sometimes referred to as a “stone of balance”, offering its wearer emotional calmness, security, and maturity. Kunzite is believed to help strengthen the circulatory system, and to be helpful in the treatment of lung disorders, psychiatric disorders, chemical dependencies and addictions, and depression.
 

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