After the ball was over. Large, blue purple, cuprian, Laurellite oval#943

Laurellite, cuprian, blue purple oval from Mozambique.  Included. This oval is very large at 27.13 carats. It is significantly included, but still has good brightness and flash for a moderately toned gem. Its color changes from purple to blue which is defining for Laurellite.

Prior to the discovery of copper bearing tourmaline in Mozambique I had a ball.  I was seeing blues, purples, and greens like never before, at prices that I could afford.  I also had a good connection to Afghanistan and their world of sea foam and other varieties.  Then the beauty of cuprian tourmaline from Mozambique was revealed to the world.  I had known that it was coming since the GIA Gemological Institute of America had found copper, as a chromophore in gemstones, I had supplied them.  The concentration of copper had been in error, but at least the news was out.  I knew that it would be an important moment in the history of tourmaline.

The price of rough that was suspected of being cuprian skyrocketed, but some of it was still available.  I fortunately was retiring from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and had some retirement resources that I would not normally have available.  So forsaking the stock market, I bet on something I knew better, tourmaline.  The piece of rough that produced this large bluish purple oval was one of my retirement investments.  The rough weighed well over 100 carats and was included, as is the finished gemstone.  My original plan was to make moderate sized gemstones from the rough while minimizing the impact of the flaws.  But I felt that the tone level of the rough was not high enough to support cutting up the rough that way.  Going with one smaller, clean stone out of the best part of the rough would have been tremendously wasteful. (There is a curved feather that sits close to the center of the piece.)  So I went for the biggest and best quality included stone I could get.

This blue purple oval is quite a gemstone.  It has a complex field of inclusions that are dominated by a curved feather of whitish color that is not a flasher.  I was able to get all the  flashing inclusions, either to the side of the table and minimized in impact or completely removed.  The tone level turned out to be a nice medium plus that shows off its color changing blue to purple face.  Yes that is right, this 27.13 carat oval is a Laurellite in my opinion.  It might not be as strong as some of them, but there is a strong shift from violet in natural light to blue in incandescent light.  The oval is not dichroic and has good transparency which permits it to be colorful and flashy.

So even though the ball was over with the announcement of the discovery of cuprian tourmaline in Mozambique,  I was still having success in the new world.


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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