Unakite is a pink and green granitic rock, also known as Epidot Granite. It is composed of different proportions of green epidote, pink orthoclase feldspar and fragments of clear quartz. It is a pretty stone with forest-green and salmon-pink hues, and it is very easily tumbled and polished. First discovered in 1874 in the Unaka range, within the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountain systems in South East US, Unakite is named after its origin. Deposits of Unakite have also been located later in China, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Brazil, however it is still prevalent in US, in multiple locations. A well known region for its Unakite pebbles is Lake Superior, Minnesota.
Unakites are formed in the process of hydrothermal alteration, when epidote replaces the plagioclase in granite. It results from deep granite exposed by erosion along fault lines, then altered by fluids.
Unakite has a hardness of 6-7 on Mohs scale. It is an opaque stone, less its small fragments of clear quartz, and it is rather compact and easy to tumble and carve. It is a very popular semi-precious stone in crafts and jewelry, as well as used for lapidary and ornamental purposes. Unakite without the pink feldspar is called Epidosite, even if most of the time it is still marketed as “Unakite”.