Kunzite is the light pink to violetish purple variety of the mineral spodumene. It’s found in Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar, and the US state of California. The gem was named after pioneering gemologist George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932). Kunzite has two perfect cleavage directions. It’s pleochroic, with the best color visible when you look down the length of the crystal. Cutters keep these factors in mind when they orient gems for finishing. They might also cut a kunzite deep to emphasize its pink to violet color. It is not unusual to find kunzite in large sizes. The Smithsonian Institution houses a faceted heart-shaped kunzite that weighs 880 carats. Kunzite can be irradiated and then heat-treated to enhance its color. Both treated and natural color in kunzite can fade with exposure to heat and bright light.