Spodumene

Big Photo

Kunzite
Brazil
260.61 carats
© Rarestone.com

The name refers to the mineral spodumene (Greek - ash-colored) because the common non-gem crystals are mostly opaque, white to yellowish.

For a long time gem verieties have been known as hiddenite and kunzite; since the 1970s some isolated transparent colorless varieties have been found. Most recently light yellow and green varieties have also been known.

Rarely displays the cat's eye effect.

Spodumene Gemstones by Colour

This table shows the variety of hues this gemstone can be found in. Click on a photo for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Spodumene Gemstones by Size

This table shows distribution of Spodumene gemstone sizes that are listed on this site. This can give a good indication as to the general availability of this gemstone in different sizes.
Contributed photos
Lightest:0.49 cts
Heaviest:551.65 cts
Average:22.73 cts
Total photos:84
Do you have a larger Spodumene? Why not upload a photo?
0.49ct to 55.61ct55.61ct to 110.72ct110.72ct to 165.84ct165.84ct to 220.95ct220.95ct to 276.07ct276.07ct to 331.19ct331.19ct to 386.30ct386.30ct to 441.42ct441.42ct to 496.53ct496.53ct to 551.65ct
General Information
Varieties/Types:
Hiddenite - Pale-to-emerald green variety of Spodumene.
Kunzite - A pink gem variety of Spodumene.
Triphane - Yellow spodumene
Chemical Formula
LiAlSi
 
2
O
 
6
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Spodumene Treatments
Irradiation of spodumene of unknown type produces orange to yellow to greenish yellow color, quite unlike any known in naturally occurring spodumene, and easily confused with citrine. This material, when offered in the trade as citrine, was found to be radioactive, indicating exposure in a nuclear reactor; the color was found to be stable to a short exposure to sunlight (Rossman and Qiu, 1982).
Heating of brown, irradiated spodumene to about 80°C converts it into the green irradiated color, which itself is bleached to restore the original pink color at 200°C (Przibram and Caffyn, 1956). Exposure to light also produces both of these changes.
The intense yellow and orange irradiated material is unlike any spodumene found in nature; it does not have to be radioactive, since this depends on how the irradiation was performed - Nassau (1984)
Irradiation of kunzite may create a light green to bluish green unstable color (fade when exposed to sunlight or gentle heating) - Blue Chart Gem Identification, Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, 2010, p 4
Physical Properties of Spodumene
Mohs Hardness6 to 7
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
More from other references
Specific Gravity3.15 to 3.21
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
More from other references
TenacityBrittle
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Cleavage QualityPerfect
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) Easy and perfect prismatic cleavageMore from other references
FractureSplintery
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Optical Properties of Spodumene
Refractive Index1.657 to 1.681
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Optical CharacterBiaxial/+
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Birefringence0.014 to 0.016
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
More from other references
PleochroismYellow stones - distinct: very light yellow - yellow - deep yellow
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
More from other references
Dispersion0.017
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Colour
Colour (General)Colourless, green, lilac, pink, white, yellow
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Causes of ColourPurple to pink (kunzite), Mn3+ in tetrahedral coordination, Mn3+ in octahedral coordination. Emerald green (hiddenite), Cr3+ in octahedral coordination with also unstable Mn4+ color center; V3+ in octahedral coordination. Paler green, unstable Mn4+ in octahedral coordination plus Fe2+Fe3+ charge transfer; Fe3+ in octahedral coordination. Greenish yellow to brownish orange, color center of unknown structure
W. William Hanneman, Pragmatic Spectroscopy For Gemologists (2011)
TransparencyTransparent
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
LustreVitreous
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Fluorescence & other light emissions
Fluorescence (Short Wave UV)Much weaker orange-yellow
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Fluorescence (Long-Wave UV)Yellowish-green stone: inert to weak orangy-yellow
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
More from other references
Fluorescence (X-RAY)Yellow-green spodumene gives a fairly strong glow but with no phosphorescence or change of colour.
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Crystallography of Spodumene
Crystal SystemMonoclinic
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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HabitHighly characteristic flattened and striated prismatic
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
Geological Environment
Where found:Spodumene is a common constituent of lithium-rich granite pegmatites.
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Inclusions in Spodumene
Growth and etch tubes, healing cracks, liquid and multi-phase inclusions - Gemmological Tables, Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, 2004, p 18
Further Information
Mineral information:Spodumene information at mindat.org
Significant Gem Localities
Afghanistan
 
  • Kunar
    • Chapa Dara District
[var: Kunzite] E.Ya. Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 110
  • Nuristan
    • Du Ab District
      • Nilaw-Kolum pegmatite field
[var: Kunzite] Bowersox and Chamberlin (1995)
[var: Kunzite] Bowersox and Chamberlin (1995)
[var: Kunzite] Bowersox and Chamberlin (1995)
    • Wama District (Vama District)
[var: Kunzite] Bowersox and Chamberlin (1995)
Brazil
 
  • Minas Gerais
    • Água Boa
[var: Kunzite] Proctor (1985)
    • Conselheiro Pena
Proctor (1985)
[var: Kunzite]
    • Galiléia
[var: Kunzite] Proctor (1985)
[var: Kunzite] Proctor (1985)
Madagascar
[var: Kunzite] E.Ya. Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 110
  • Vakinankaratra
    • Antsirabe II
      • Ibity
Lefevre and Thomas (1997)
Pakistan
 
  • Gilgit-Baltistan
    • Astore District
      • Astor valley (Astore valley)
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 110
Sri Lanka
 
  • Sabaragamuwa Province
    • Ratnapura District
      • Ratnapura
[var: Kunzite] Ceylon Aluvial Mine, (Book, Co. 2002)
USA
 
  • California
    • San Diego Co.
      • Pala District
        • Pala
          • Tourmaline Queen Mountain (Pala Mtn; Queen Mtn)
[var: Kunzite] Sinkankas (1997)
  • North Carolina
    • Alexander Co.
      • Hiddenite
[var: Hiddenite] Rocks & Min.:60:84.
[var: Hiddenite] Rocks & Minerals 79:5 p 344; Rocks & Min. (2007) 82:243
Copyright © Jolyon & Katya Ralph 1993-2019. Site Map. Locality, gem & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. For more information please contact the . Gemdat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free gemmological information to all.