#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.
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