Category Archives: Cutting Tourmaline

All about cutting tourmaline gemstones

Canary tourmaline, down the yellow brick road

Recently I have been able to get more interesting tourmaline rough.  I have cut some of the ones sold as “yellow” and here is an update and overview of my search for the wonderful world of “canary” tourmaline.  (I use … Continue reading

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Orange, to be or not to be, it is. All hale a glory of tourmaline.

Orange will never be number one in the world of color in tourmaline. Much of it is either desaturated under all reasonable white lights or at least under more bluish light (Brownish cast). But there are exceptions and I have … Continue reading

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Scope of work and philosophy of effort.

This post is a simple attempt to describe my lapidary world that I have come to be comfortable with.  I hope to make it brief and it is not profound or inspirational, but I think it is down to earth. … Continue reading

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A Cool Bi-Color Pear Shaped Tourmaline.

In my last package of rough from Africa there was a very well worn, blocky piece of what appeared to be a medium light spice green tourmaline.  Upon a closer  look it turn out to be a bi color with … Continue reading

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What will 65 carats of included hot vibrant pink make?

The trip of discovery has begun.  I had to use my facet saw to cut the ends and take out a bad feather from the water worn piece of rough that had almost been completely cobbled.  Whenever I need to … Continue reading

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The history of a purple/blue piece of rough and speculations.

What I will be posting today is just the beginning of an interesting tale of fail opportunities and hoped for successes.  To set the stage for this notable piece of rough, I have to give a brief run down of … Continue reading

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RIP the reported demise of a beautiful Afghan Sea Foam tourmaline

About 10 years ago I hooked up with a goldsmith that would work with me and design original setting for some of my tourmalines.   He put his time and gold into the setting and I put in my tourmaline.  We … Continue reading

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One for the Afghanistan mine run

When I was just getting back into faceting after a long hiatus, I wanted to get my son interested in what I was doing.  He loved to find “good” dates on coins and anything else that seemed to be worth … Continue reading

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An Oval by the Numbers

It has been a bit, but I finished a tourmaline gemstone today that is worth commenting about.  The rough was a pretty average piece of dichroic brownish gold that had be reduced significantly to eliminate a major flaw.  And I … Continue reading

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Cutting Mr. Ugly, a challenge in concentration.

I was out of worthwhile tourmaline to cut this last summer and a friend of mine stepped in and sent me some rough.  On top of what was on the storage bags (weight, dimension etc.) my friend wrote his opinions … Continue reading

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A round of watermelon with a lesson.

They say that the third try is a charm and so I am ready to tell a charming story.  It is about a most peculiar type of tourmaline that has a watermelon distribution of color.  It has a central core … Continue reading

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Dissecting a Dravite Hot Off the Lap.

I am continually amazed by the variety of dynamic colors in tourmaline.  And shifts in color than can make a less desirable color in gemstone still blaze with a unique statement.  And a unique tourmaline certainly gets my attention. The … Continue reading

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Golden eye in an Orange Circle of Flash

It is always nice to get a delightful surprise and when it turns out to be a great new tourmaline, than that merits a post of progress with the collection. The piece of rough I gotten from a friend did … Continue reading

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My little emeralds (tourmaline), no, not chrome this time.

I just finished two beautiful green tourmaline, one shield cut and the other a standard round brilliant.  (12/11/2013) that are different enough to build a post.  Each gem was cut from a different alluvial pebble that had significant inclusions.  The … Continue reading

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Late Breaking News Cuprian Oval Come Clean, well not really.

This post is centered on a stone that I just finish from a piece of rough I receive a couple of months ago from Africa.  The rough weighed  6.5 carats and had both inclusions and two ugly iron areas that … Continue reading

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Included, medium light toned, blue green oval.#1200

This is the last of the four ovals that I cut from a large included piece of rough.  I have written about cutting this stone on another post about cutting included rough, if you would like to read more about … Continue reading

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Included, dichroic, medium dark green trilliant cut.#1187

Now I am not saying the I prefer included stones, to the pure joy of bright, flashing, eye clean perfection, but some inclusions don’t bother me as much as they use to.  This trilliant has a great dichroic green.  But … Continue reading

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Pure tourmaline magic, Blue capped pink bodied round.#1134

Blue cap round from face up. Blue cap round, more from the side. I set out to cut a different stone from a different piece of rough this time.  Blue capped tourmaline crystals are some of the most beautiful and … Continue reading

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Deeply cut medium pastel green round.#1111

This delightful gemstone owes much of its interest to the increased depth and bright flash created by a different cut, than the standard round brilliant.  This cut consists of eight horizontally split mains for a pavilion and a modified two … Continue reading

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What can I say, I like even gray, in the color world of this round.#1105

I was once looking threw a list of gemstones and their colors presented by the Gem Institute of America GIA.  I always like to see which colors are not included in the list of colors for tourmaline.  The most notable, … Continue reading

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There is no cure for the Namibian blues, beautiful, small, emerald cut.#1103

Do I like to cut, large length to width ratio emerald cuts?  Not really.  Do I like to cut skinny emerald cuts?  Not really.  But when it comes to desiring top quality blues from Namibia I gladly go the extra … Continue reading

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Cutting a flawed but not an impossible dream.

In the world of my dreams, the tourmaline runs large, colorful and clean.  This is certainly not the world I  live in and I am not sure that I would want to cut in it either.  I remember a documentary … Continue reading

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One of the most brittle tourmalines I have ever cut. emerald cut.

I think that the amount of tourmaline that is available to the custom cutter out of Africa is as bad as it has ever been.  I don’t think that there is much being discovered and the material that is being … Continue reading

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Greatness is in the eye of the beholder. Bright, Green, Cuprian, Round.#148

This is a beautiful gemstone. There are many movies, books and even myths, about a creative person paying their dues and striving for greatness, but would not have made it, without the help of someone who believed in them. I … Continue reading

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Include sleep time purple with an attraction to me, oval#130

My principal dealer out of Africa still manages to pick up a few cuprian tourmaline pieces of rough (2013) and I keep spending too much for too little because of my purple addition.  I bought the rough for this gemstone … Continue reading

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A treasured pink of great visual impact, emerald cut. Afghanistan#197

She and her family are known wide and far in Afghanistan and their given name is strawberry.  When I heard of this exceptional, saturated pink from Afghanistan, that was found in large crystals that were always included and had to … Continue reading

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Dichroic golden green and green round.#163

This dichroic gemstone has the classic pie slice shaped areas with alternating yellow green and green, when you look face up at this standard round brilliant.  It appears to be eye clean and has a medium dark tone color.  It … Continue reading

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Aghan tricolor, uniquely tourmaline, emerald cut. #60

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 … Continue reading

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Pastel green pink bicolor from Brazilian “salad”. #59

I read somewhere that Brazil, the homeland of tourmaline for many years was not producing much quality material anymore.  But it was producing what they cal “salad” which are native cut gemstones in mostly included tourmaline.  Sometimes it is just … Continue reading

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Namibian blues a moving flaw in a pure hearted emerald cut.#371

It is always sad to see a beautiful stone destroyed and when it is happening as you work on it, that is even worse.  Now I have certainly had tourmalines “blow up” on me and left me shatter along with … Continue reading

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Tower of Green Power Emerald Cut with Dark Ends.#761

To cut a nice gemstone from tourmaline that has closed ends (very little if any light is transmitted down the principle, c, axis.)  restricts your options as a cutter.  The choice of the emerald cut is essential for minimizing the … Continue reading

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Strongly dichroic pink with pinch of purple or orange, emerald cut#711

I have seen this combination of a richly colored c axis with some shade of pink and a pale a/b axis with an off color pink.  Looking hard I think that the a/b pink has got a little brown in … Continue reading

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Introduction, pictures and comments on five waves of tourmaline rough.

I started cutting gemstones again after a long hiatus in 1998.  I have purchased most of my rough from Africa, but there has also been a  significant amount of rough coming from Afghanistan.  Getting this site going and posting comments … Continue reading

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Included, flashy, medium blue round that is cuprian.

Some stones will always make me smile and stay with me until I can not remember them anymore.  This memorable deeply cut round started out in my possession as a water worn pebble that was sold to me as low … Continue reading

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Dark Ends and Passionate Green Emerald Cut

In tourmaline it isn’t always easy being green.  You may have closed ends and have a problem finding a cut, outside of an emerald cut.  Even when properly cut, your window of transparency and flash is limited and rejection can … Continue reading

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Bicolor IceT beverage only for the faint hearted.

I once bought a second round of pale colored tourmaline from Afghanistan for business reasons that did not pan out.  I cut most of the first batch into included rounds that I have presented and written about a number of … Continue reading

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Announcing an Emerald cut of note, Pure Sea Foam.

  Emerald cuts are very useful for the cutting of tourmaline.  This is due, at times, to their dichroism. or crystal shape or desire to keep colors from interacting too much in a gemstone.  It is also a cut that … Continue reading

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Included moderately toned blue that shifts a bit, round

This gemstone has a horizontally split main pavilion and a normal crown.  Its moderate tone level makes this stone’s inclusions quite apparent.  The inclusions are positioned toward the girdle and extended only to the edge of the table.  I work … Continue reading

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Included Blue slider with a past, round.

There are few gemstones from years ago that leave a clear impression on me of polishing their tables, but this one does.  I cut the gemstone during a relatively protracted period of time I call the “Polish Wars”.   My polishing … Continue reading

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Great Orange Round with a Flaw#1096

  In the world of cutting quality tourmaline rough, dealing with flaws is very important.  Of course any adjustments for flaws is tightly dependent on retaining material for a decent yield and optimizing the color potential of the rough. I … Continue reading

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Really Nice Green Round#1015

  I know that I shouldn’t bias my love of a color on cut, but with green I truly long for nice ones that are not emerald cuts.  There are several reasons for cutting green tourmaline rough into emerald cuts. … Continue reading

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Sea Foam Tourmaline from Afghanistan#200

Only Large Barion cut from Large Lot.   One of two Barion Cut from first large crystal.  Weight 13.39 carats     We down to earth people, who actually make things, have been known to scorn those who are just … Continue reading

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A retro example of the Polish Wars.

The following tale was written in June 2001 which is over twelve years ago from this moment, August 2013.  I had not returned to faceting for that long and I was in a period to aggressive experimentation in what I … Continue reading

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Cutting a stubby tourmaline with a closed c axis

As of August 2013 the supply of quality tourmaline available to the custom cutter  and coming out of Africa, has probably hit a new low.  I really don’t think much material is coming out of the rest of the world, … Continue reading

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Color Change/Shift in Red Tourmaline

Feb. 27th 2010 The first well known feature of some red tourmaline is that it de-saturates under incandescent light and turns brownish. This is not desirable and has cause the use of the variety name Rubellite to be only acceptable … Continue reading

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Cutting & Faceting Tourmaline

Cutting & Faceting Tourmaline by Bruce A. Fry Considering Color & Weight Retention When cutting rough tourmaline, as with any colored gemstone variety, the lapidary must consider both color and weight retention. The unique complexity of cutting tourmaline comes into … Continue reading

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A Great Fake Peach Round

    True or False.  Pink and green light mixed together with the right level of tone makes YELLOW. True and the story goes on. In the tray this large round with a pavilion consisting of eight split mains and … Continue reading

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Tourmaline tale, Birth of a beauty

The following tale was written years ago, when I tried to share the excitement of buying and cutting tourmaline with a friend.  I would like to share one of them with you now.   A TOURMALINE TALE OF SAD AND … Continue reading

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ring sized tri-color red-golden-green

This pretty tri-color is flawless and weighs a couple of carats, a nice size for a ring. It is the best example of of color combination of green to red with a narrow band of yellowish between them that I … Continue reading

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Included golden yellow colored round

This stone is an example of a developing trend in my tourmaline collection. The rough was purchased within the last few years, as of 2013, as semi-facet grade. That grade means that I will probably not be able to get … Continue reading

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Thin intense blue capped crystal leads to interesting stone

  This is not the prettiest tourmaline in the collection and the way I cut the rough crystal, which had a thin,  bordering on the opaque, blue cap, was frankly an experiment.  When I first received the rough from Africa … Continue reading

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A face-up beige with a split personality.

  Watermelon is a great term for describing a classic color distribution in tourmaline.  The most famous combination of colors is pink/red in the center with a pale color band separating it from a green skin, but it comes in … Continue reading

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