#261 and a bright red cuprian smile

One of the tourmalines I had tested with GIA’s laser ablation mass spectrometer instrument when I visited in January was a bright red standard round brilliant. Even with some inclusions and a flatted crown it is a beautiful smaller gem. I have not seen this saturated a red in tourmaline in a long time. My spectrometer spots it as a potential cupprian tourmaline, but the spectrometer can not reach far enough into the infrared to confirm the existace of copper. Manganese plus 3 has a peak in the infrared that complicates cuprian identification in red and pink tourmaline. Not a problem for the GIA.

I know that ruby red cuprian was found at the original source of Paraiba tourmaline in Brazil. It was a shame, but it was heated along with any material that could be changed to cyan. That was where the money was. I will not be heating my piece, that has exceptional brightness that I really thought came from copper, but I have looked at other vivid red tourmaline and found no indication of copper. So I am dependant on the spectrometer to see copper and not the tourmaline’s color or brightness. Such a complicated world of color in tourmaline.

About Bruce Fry

I was born in Summit, NJ in 1947 and graduated from Summit High School in 1966. I graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1970 and after spending another year in graduate school, I left to see the world of Brazil. After spending some more time discovering myself, I ended up working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 32 years as an Air Quality Engineer in the Department of Environmental Protection. I retired in 2007 and took up faceting gemstones again after a long hiatus that reached back to my twenties. I had started cutting cabochons when I was 13 and bought my first faceting machine when I was 15, but ran out of money and time until I retired. My great love in gemology is tourmaline and the collection presented here represents my effort to get as much beauty and variety in the colors of tourmaline as I can. I was particularly lucky in being able to get unheated cuprian tourmaline before copper was discovered in gem grade tourmaline from Mozambique.
This entry was posted in Introduction. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply