A view of colored stones in Japan.

I just got back from a trip to Okinawa to see my daughter and my new grandson.  On my return trip I had a layover in the Tokyo airport that was long enough to look around.  So I popped into some upscale jewelery stores.  I had heard that the Japanese LOVE colored gemstones and I had fought them for yellow and cyan colored rough on my way to cutting my collection.

Well I have to say I was disappointed.  Most of the space in the stores catered to watches that I consider a rather dated form of jewelery.  On top of that, most of the jewelery consisted of smooth, rather asymmetric pieces of gold etc. Some of them had small smoothly shaped and polished gem pieces, but very few faceted gemstones outside of diamonds. The only larger faceted stones I saw were a decent quality of amethyst.  I did see some semi mounts that would be ready for decent sized faceted gemstones.  More important than anything else, I did not see any tourmaline even in smaller sizes.  The only pink I saw was sapphire.  I guess I will have to go to China next time to see where the worship of tourmaline has really bloomed.

I am certainly not finding any rough worth the high price, in the investment of time and resources, I would need to spend to really add to the collection.   I am cutting small pieces to keep my fingers in the work.




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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