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George Frederick Kunz
KUNZ, George Frederick.

KUNZ, George Frederick.
(1856 - 1932)

(Born: New York City, New York, U.S.A., 29 September 1856; Died: New York City, New York, U.S.A., 29 June 1932) American gemologist.

Kunz was the son of immigrant parents. At the age of ten his family moved to Hoboken, New Jersey, where he attended the public schools. Being poor, he was unable to afford college, however, Kunz taught himself enough mineralogy that he was able to secure in 1879 a position at the famous jewelry manufacturer, Tiffany & Company. He remained with the firm until his death, rising to vice president and finally trustee. He was highly successful in locating American sources of gems to be used in Tiffany's jewelry designs, and this brought him the honorary position of special agent of precious stones for the United States Geological Survey (1883 to 1909). Among many honors, Kunz was a founder and president of the New York Mineralogical Club. In 1903, a pink variety of the gem mineral spodumene was named "Kunzite" in his honor.

Biographical references: ABA: I 923, 99-113. Adams, Dictionary of American Authors, 1904: 222. American Mineralogist: 18 (1933), 91-4, portrait [by P.F. Kerr]. ANB: 12, 952-3 [by L.H. Conklin]. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America: 44 (1933), 377-94, portait [by H.P. Whitlock]. Cleevely, World PalŠontological Collections, 1983: 176. DAB: Suppl. 1, 476-7. Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography. ISIS, 1913-65: 2, 33. National Cyclopedia of American Biography: 4, 433. New York Times: 30 June 1932 [obituary]. Poggendorff: 4, 818. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 2, 1495-9, Suppl. 2 (1995), 1, 814. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: 2, 576. WBI. Who Was Who in America: 1, 695. World Who's Who in Science: 978-9.

Gems, 1890

1. English, 1890 [First edition].
[In red:] Gems | [in black:] And | [in red:] Precious Stones | [in black:] Of | North America | A Popular Description | Of Their Occurrence, Value, History, | Archaeology, And Of The Collections In | Which They Exist, Also A Chapter On | Pearls And On Remarkable Foreign | Gems Owned In The United States... | Illustrated | With Eight Colored Plates And Numerous | Minor Engravings | By | [in red:] George Frederick Kunz | [...7 lines of titles and memberships...] | [in black, rule] | New York | [in red:] The Scientific Publishing Company | [in black, rule] | MDCCCXC.

4░: [2], [i]-vi, [1]-336 p., 8 chromolithographic plates with descriptive tissue letterpress, black and white plates, text illustrations. Title in red and black. Page size: 276 x 194 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso "Copyright, 1890."; [i]-vi, "List Of Illustrations."; [3]-5, "Contents."; [6], Blank.; [7]-11, "Introduction."; [12], Blank.; [13]-330, Text.; [331]-336, "Index."

Very scarce. A popular author on all aspects of gemology, this is Kunz's first major book and is devoted to a through description of North American gemstones. The volume contains information on gemstones and their locations in North America that Kunz had gathered from correspondents located all over the continent. These were the same people that supplied local information for inclusion in Kunz's annual contribution to the Mineral Resources of the U.S., for which Kunz wrote the "precious stones" chapters for many years. In addition, being a vice president of the famous jewelry firm of Tiffany & Co. Kunz actively encouraged the exploitation of gem deposits and stood ready to purchase recovered material to financially assist such ventures. While much of the contained information has been augmented or improved upon in intervening years, the unique nature and value of this work is unquestioned and it is still of value today. The handsome colored lithographic plates included in this book together with those found in Hamlin's tourmaline monographs are among the finest chromolithographic plates of minerals ever produced in the United States.

Bibliographical references: Dana's 7th (Bibliography): 75. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 6353.

2. English, 1892 [2nd edition].
[In red:] Gems | [in black:] and | [in red:] Precious Stones | [in black:] Of | North America | A Popular Description | Of Their Occurrence, Value, History, | Archaeology, And Of The Collections In | Which They Exist, Also A Chapter On | Pearls And On Remarkable Foreign | Gems Owned In The United States... | Illustrated | With Eight Colored Plates And Numerous Engravings | Second Edition with Appendix | By | [in red:] George Frederick Kunz | [...in black, 10 lines of titles and memberships...] | [rule] | New York | [in red:] The Scientific Publishing Company | [in black, rule] | MDCCCXCII.

4░: [4], [i]-vi, [3]-367, [1] p., 8 chromolithographic plates with descriptive tissue letterpress, 16 black and white plates, 20 text illus. Title in red and black. Contrary to the description given by Sinkankas (1994; no. 3655), that says the list of illustrations was not included, two copies of this edition examined match the information given here. Page size: 276 x 194 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Half title page, "Gems And Precious Stones | Of North America," verso blank.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso "Copyright, 1890 | By The Scientific Publishing Company."; [i]-vi, "List Of Illustrations."; [3]-5, "Contents."; [6], Blank.; [7]-11, "Introduction."; [12], Blank.; [13]-330, Text.; [331]-336, "Index."; [337]-364, "Appendix."; [365]-367, "Appendix II."; [368], Blank.

Very scarce. Two appendices are added describing the discovery of occurrences of gems since the first edition.

Facsimile reprint, c1968: Gems & Precious Stones of North America A Popular Description of Their Occurence, Value, History, Archaeology, & of the Collections in which they exist, Also a Chapter on Pearls & on Remarkable Foreign Gems Owned in the United States reprint of the second edition (with appendix) with new introduction by Edward Olsen. New York, Dover Publications, Inc., c1968. 367 p., 9 colored plates.

Bibliographical references: Dana's 7th (Bibliography): p. 75. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 6355. USGS Library Catalog.

3. English, 1907.
North Carolina Geological And | Economic Survey | Joseph Hyde Pratt, State Geologist | [rule] | Bulletin No. 12 | [rule] | History Of The Gems Found In | North Carolina | By | George Frederick Kunz, Ph.D. | [ornament] | Raleigh | E.M. Uzzell & Co., Public Printers and Binders | 1907.

8░: xvii, 60 [2] p., 15 tipped in plates (4 chromolithographic plates with tissues). Very scarce.

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