A Rough Sort of Tourmaline’s Quest for Success.
Being long and thin is a natural for most tourmaline with my pedigree. And I am sure that is how I started out before the hand of man clipped my ends. I was kind of attached to my terminus, but if a good clipping is what it took to come clean, so be it. But I knew a secret, even as I was prepared for my unveiling before the eyes of my cutter, that hid in my crystalline heart. It was not my stocky build that was plain to see by everyone. Or some dark radial flaws that could be eliminated b grinding my surface. Oh no, my inclusion consisted of a bundle of natural straws that pierced my heart, down my dark, principle axis.
Now the cutter took my stubby shape in stride, but was a bit set back by the dark tone level of my principle axis. No amount of effort or sacrificing of my body could eliminate my darkness. Still it was a darkness that was not complete. Calling in the penetrating lamp revealed a fine saturated green world in contrast to the paler, choice bluer green sides of the crystal.
An emerald cut would have been my cut if I had been long enough. My darkness would have been minimized in its ends and my beauty flaunted shamelessly. Being chubby sure has its draw backs. But the cutter seem determined to shape me with a plan, as he started to strip me. Just as I was beginning to be embarrassed, he saw me flash him. My inclusion was thick and reflected a golden glow. My revelation left the cutter mumbling that a table at 45 degrees to both the principle and secondary axis was not going to work. The table would have been the pathway to my soul with a blend of my colors in an emerald cut.
Am I a worthless hussy doomed to sit on the cutters kitchen windowsill forever as a reject? No! Was he going to not worry about my very distracting inclusion and make me into an emerald cut any way. No! As I conformed to his wishes, I realized that I was to be a brilliant round. Knowing my destiny did not stop my questions filled with worry. With the bunch of straw-like inclusion vertical to the table, their distraction should be minimal, but would it still be too much. Could my colorful soul be expressed or hinghwould it all turn black. Only the effort of trying would tell for sure.
With the field of challenges defined the cutter’s work began. The only exceptional part of the pavilion was the hole that was formed where the bundle of tubes was ground off. It was fairly close to the edge of the stone, but if Ihe ground it down more the physical integrity of the round would bethe questionable. Removing it was out of the question. After turning the stone, the cutter tentatively ground 40 degree mains leaving a very thick girdle. Then came the moment to see how distracting the inclusions would be. The ends of the bundle, but not its sides, did appear at the edge of the table, but did not form a hole like the on the pavilion. As the grinding continue the defect move closer to the center of the stone and appeared to be on the verge of becoming a hole. The grinding of the table had to stop and the stone was left with too thick a girdle. The cutter really did not want a thick crown, but increasing the angle of the mains was the only reasonable way to finish the stone. Fiddling around trying to get the right angle for a thin girdle and still keeping the nascent table unchanged, resulted in the potential of the break facets, at a normal angle, breaching the girdle. Put down, but not out of the game, the cutter decided to do what he had never done before, except in rare isolated cases. Use the radial cheated to bring all the breaks into meets at the girdle, without changing angle of the breaks.
The polishing/adjustments went well. No hole was form in the table, though the ends did not polish as expected. I did not loss the girdle, though it was close at one spot. So how does this round appear? Face up and even off axis the dark principle axis of rich green dominates the stone and makes it almost lifeless, but as soon as the stone is moved, bright flashes of vivid saturated green appear. The flashes appear to be almost random in nature and make a different display for the New Years.
No one will ever realize the effort and thought that went into this meek, dark, little round as it sits in its box. But I have the satisfaction of having an interesting and in its own way, an attractive gem. (move over black diamond!) But a feat, I don’t plan on repeating. As a foot note, I just finished a close relative in a long emerald cut. Its dark ends and lightly included body do not rob the gem of its rich green tourmaline glory. It will make an interesting foil to the round for a lesson on cutting tourmaline.