Aghan tricolor, uniquely tourmaline, emerald cut. #60

Beautiful, eye clean, tricolor from Afghanistan, emerald cut  #60 This tricolor is dominated by an exceptional blue green color, along with nice clear and pink sections. The emerald cut is eye clean and very bright in all areas of the gem. It weighs 2.36 carats.

This is a beautiful gemstone.  Not only are the colors, particularly the blue green, are beautiful, but the pale almost colorless and pink end work well together.  Still the blue green  dominates the gemstone.  That is particularly obvious in the pink end where the “pagoda” of color from the green blue end is strong, while the blue end does not show a pagoda of pink influence.  The pagodas come from light being transmitted down the long axis of the emerald cut and emerging from the opposite end of the gem’s  faceting.  This bright flashy gem appears to be eye clean with great crystal.   It does appear to have a little roughness on the keel.  It weighs 2.36 carats.

Looking at this beautiful gemstone which is a great addition to the collection, I think of the risks in purchasing rough.  The dealer who originally purchased this material from Afghanistan was also a cutter.  But he was an impatient one, so I was told.  He pushed hard enough that he had a “heavy hand” and could not get this tricolor material to cut without breaking.  This was the only reason, I had an opportunity to buy it.  I bought three pieces, one of which he had started and broken.  I was able to finish all three without a lose, but they took a long time to cut for their size.  Now I am not saying that I can make a success with tri/bi colors and other tourmaline, all the time.  Some are so stress that they are impossible, in my opinion.   This can not be seen in the material before cutting.  If I was a commercial operation I would try cutting a waste/low grade specimen before the main course, but with my limited funds and opportunities, I have to dive into the main meal.  And a beautiful green and colorless bi color from Afghanistan, that was not heated, gave me my comeuppance.  It kept breaking on the green end, rather than the area between the colors when I ground it “normally”.  I bought a brand new 3000 grit lap and proceeded to spend days taking this good sized crystal down “gently”.  The green end kept breaking, so I would rebalanced the colors and try again.  Finally, after pretty well breaking in the new 3,000 lap, more than completely, the clear end finally broke on its own.  I quietly took the much small piece of rough off the dopstick and got my claw hammer out and made powder out of the remains of a dream on the front sidewalk.  It is the only time I have ever done that, but not the only time I have had to admit defeat.


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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