Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kunz in the News, March 2015

Rubies, Blood-Red Beauty 
article by Victoria Gomelsky
New York Times
March 15, 2015

"In “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones,” a 1913 reference book by the famed gemologist George Frederick Kunz, he noted the ancient belief that “an inextinguishable flame burned” inside the stone. “If cast into the water, the ruby communicated its heat to the liquid, causing it to boil,” he wrote."

Jewellery | Tiffany toasts top clients
The Australian Financial Review
March 15, 2015

"The pale pink-violet stone kunzite was named after the company's first gemologist, George Frederick Kunz, who described the gem in 1902."

1919 Article by Dr. Kunz on the Russian Crown Jewels

The Internet Archive has a June 1919 article describing the Crown Jewels of Russia in great detail. The article from Art & Life magazine, was released by JStor to the Internet Archive in an effort to make their public domain materials available broadly.

You can view, download, and print the article in a number of formats at

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kunz in the News, November 2014

The following represent mentions of Dr. George Frederick Kunz in News articles over the past several months.

Jewellery 101: the gemstones to know about
Vogue Australia-Nov 17, 2014
…mentions Kunzite and its association with Dr. Kunz.

Think pink for truly multitasking gemstone
The Standard (UK) - November 12, 2014
A story about semi-precious stones and specifically the value of Kunzite.

The 50th Anniversary of New York's Most Sensational JewelHeist
Vanity Fair - October 29, 2014
…mentions the role Kunz played in assembling J.P. Morgan’s mineral and gemstone 
collection, later donated to the American Museum of Natural History.

Inside Tennessee's disappearing pearl industry
Al Jazeera America - June 27, 2014
…quotes Dr. Kunz from 1908 about the fascination man has with pearls.

Friday, November 14, 2014 materials on Dr. Kunz

The Web site,, is actively digitizing newspaper content for a subscription fee. AS of November 2014, there were over 12,000 references to Dr. Kunz in their current collection. Some examples include:

  • 1921, November 21 (p.30) - The Nebraska State Journals (Lincoln, Nebraska) published a long article on "Japanese Pearls Worrying Owners of Real Ones" where Dr. Kunz is consulted (a portrait of Dr. Kunz accompanies the article as well). 
  • 1925, August 16 (p.79) - The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) published a full page article entitled "Dr. George Kunz, Connoisseur of Jewels, Reveals Fascination of Precious Stones" written by Rosalie Espenschied. The article includes a portrait of Dr. Kunz and has been digitized and is available for a fee online from
  • 1930, January 25 (p.1) - The Coshocton Tribune (Ohio) has a three-paragraph story regarding the annulment of Dr. Kunz' marriage to Opal Gilbertson Kunz and the couple's plans to continue living together after their annulment. 
  • 1935, September 6 - The Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina) reported that the North Carolina Academy of Natural Sciences added three fine specimens of Kunzite to their collections and explains that the mineral is named after Dr. Kunz.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Jewelry Career Fair to feature rare Kunzite necklace

The Gemological Institute of America is hosting a new exhibit called the "Beauty of Science" that was on display during the Institute's annual open house on October 10, 2014. The exhibit includes a Paloma Picasso-designed necklace featuring a 394 carat Kunzite stone. The necklace is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution for the duration of the exhibit.

News Release: GIA Jewelry fair open to public from the San Diego Union-Tribune

GIA: Information on the "Beauty of Science" Exhibit

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chronology for Russian Crown Jewels photographs in the U.S.

The discovery of a photo album of the Russian Crown Jewels from George Frederick Kunz' personal library in 2012 has generated a number of questions about the chronology of images of the jewels in the United States in the early 1920's. Created below is a chronology of documentation regarding these photographs, as it is currently known:

Images in publications:
  • December 20, 1922: DIAMOND CROWNS OF THE LATE CZAR AND CZARINA OF RUSSIA TO BE SOLD BY THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT. The Jewelers' Circular. the Czarina's diamond crown is pictured on the cover and the Imperial Russian crown on page 49. The issue is Volume 85, number 21. Both photos credit "Wide World Photos" as their source.
  • December 24, 1922: PRICELESS RUSSIAN CROWN JEWELS NOW IN SOVIET HANDS. St. Louis Post – Dispatch. page B25 (includes pictorial spread)
  • December 31, 1922: RUSSIAN'S CROWN JEWELS. San Francisco Chronicle. Includes Pictorial spread featuring images of the Czar and Czarina’s crowns, Orloff scepter, Aquamarine pendant, fan and Catherine’s bouquet pin.
Documentation from the Archives of the American Museum of Natural History
  • October 1, 1923. Internal memo from Assistant Director, R.G. Murphy, to Executive Secretary George Sherwood requesting copies of 75 photographic prints of the Russian Crown Jewels. Dr. Murphy states that the photographs are in Dr. Kunz possession as a "confidential trust" and that "no prints must be allowed to get abroad."
  • October 2, 1923. Memo from Mr. Sherwood to Dr. Murphy confirming receipt of the request and asking that Dr. Kunz send the photographs directly to Mr. Sherwood.
  • October 5, 1923. A typed note in the file quoting a letter from Dr. Kunz to Dr. Murphy, confirming that he would attend to sending the photographs to Mr. Sherwood that day.
  • October 5, 1923. A memo, signed by Kunz to Mr. Sherwood, confirming his request for negatives and prints to be made as well as, in the future, lantern slides, possibly colored. Kunz notes that the book is to be shown to no one but the photographer nor is anything to be said about it, "for various reasons." Kunz offers in this message to use the slides for a possible lecture at the museum.
  • October 10, 1923. A types memo (unsigned), presumable from Mr. Sherwood, to Dr. Kunz confirming receipt of a letter as well as the book of photographs and confirming that the work would be done but that there was no immediate hurry.
  • June 25, 1924. A typed memo (unsigned),presumably from Dr. Murphy (Acting Director) to Dr. Kunz,stating that the production of the negatives were complete and offering to have the Russian captions translated by a Miss Van Feld on their staff.
  • October 28, 1924. A typed memo (unsigned), presumably from Dr. Murphy (Acting Director) to Dr. Kunz, returning the book of photographs as well as a set of the prints.
  • March 26, 1928. Typed memo (unsigned) from an unnamed Director to Director C. Clyde Fisher, requesting that they ask Miss Van Fliet to look up the photographs which were copied for Dr. Kunz and have a set of prints made and send to him with the compliments of the museum.
That is all that is known at this time. The Associated Press (successors to the Wide World Photos) has been consulted but was unable to provide any information about the photographs they licensed in 1922.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kunzite specimen, once owned by George F. Kunz sells for $68,500 at Auction

From - Jun 10,2013 - DALLAS, TEXAS – A 10” tall piece of pink Kunzite, a variety of Spodumene, with provenance to George F. Kunz, Tiffany & Co.’s vice president and chief mineralogist in the early 1900s, realized $68,500 on June 2 at Heritage Auctions’ break-out $3.57+ million Nature & Science event. The pink gem variety of Spodumene was named after Kunz who gave this particular example to his Tiffany co-worker George Wild.