Category Archives: Introduction

Introduction to the colorful world of tourmaline gemstones

Working on a report on color in cuprian tourmaline using my spectrometer.

My spectrometer is finally operating properly. again. I am still learning about color analysis, but I should have a new report up on this site, that compares color caused by copper as a chromophore and other chromophores. The focus will … Continue reading

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Purple and heated cuprian/paraiba tourmaline

There seems to be a universal acceptance that if a cuprian/paraiba tourmaline has a purplish cast/overtone it is unheated. This not true. At least early on the exploitation of the Mozambique deposit,, large highly toned red/purple nodules were found. They … Continue reading

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Spectrometer and color in tourmaline.

Over 5 years ago I purchased a compact soilid state spectrometer. I tested all of my collection of tourmaline for copper and it was great fun. I found a significant number of cuprian tourmaline in my collection that I did … Continue reading

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Welcome to a tourmaline collection with a difference.

I have spent a fair amount of time searching the inter net for information and images of tourmaline. I have come to the conclusion that this site is unusual if not unique on the inter net. Part of the difference … Continue reading

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Fighting the good fight to keep cutting interesting tourmaline.

I have begun to work with a Nigerian dealer, who now works in the US, He just got back from a buying trip to Nigeria. If you have read, like I did, that the Chinese have left the market and … Continue reading

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Outstanding Achroite with a Mystery

Latest summer while I was traveling trying to get research on color in tourmaline done I had a brand new tourmaline tested. It is the biggest achroite I have that I am sure has not been heated. It is water … Continue reading

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Traveling again in the name of tourmaline.

As sping approaches, I plan visit to the GIA’s museum in California and a couple of museaums on the east coast. I am looking for good homes where my Laurellites will be safe from heating. I think it is unique … Continue reading

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A Case History of an oval pink tourmaline.

Ovals in general have a long history of problems with me. I could not cut them with my original equipment that I purchased as a kid of 15. But when I got back into faceting after a long period of … Continue reading

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Collection pretty much back together again after GIA trip.

I have just finished putting the collection back together after fifty of the stones were kept by the GIA for photographing. It is hoped that they will be included in a future spread in Gems and Gemology on the beauty … Continue reading

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Making money on Paraiba when all you have is from Mozambique.

In promoting the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba as coming from Brazil, being part of the original mine’s production and being even an authentic Paraiba is reaching a new low in probably confusing the public. This largest of all “Paraiba” tourmaline … Continue reading

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Opinions on the Paraiba/paraiba type and cuprian tourmaline market.

The publication of a new study on the principle and trace elements in Paraiba/ cuprian tourmaline in The Journal of Gemmology, along with changes’s in The Guide’s presentation of how the market values  copper bearing tourmaline has me troubled.  The … Continue reading

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Successful return from my trip to the west.

I am still trying to hydrate after returning from San Diego via the southwest, but I wanted to share some tourmaline related highlights. 1,  My spectrometer’s light source will be modified to be better able to analyze color. 2,  A … Continue reading

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New Trip

Early in July I will be headed to the West Coast via St Louis in the hope of getting more research done on tourmaline. I will be writing about the trip and any work that I can get done as … Continue reading

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Hunkers in the Hole, Adventure in Cutting Big Semi-Facet Rough.

In the effort to produce a top quality (AAA) piece of tourmaline rough a whole lot of cobbling, clipping and grinding goes on.  Now everyone loves the perfect piece of rough that can produce the perfect gemstone with a great … Continue reading

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Vivid yellow green color wins over the flaws.

I am sitting here trying to put my thoughts together about an oval gemstone I just finishing cutting.  I have worked in wool for many years and most people come to realize that if you just pick out the bright … Continue reading

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A small round, but a brilliant idea.

If you have been following my posts here you probably realized that the availability of tourmaline and its affordability have pushed me to cut practically everything in tourmaline that I have. Years ago I purchased a significant lot of “mine … Continue reading

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The Drama of Cutting a Beautiful Tourmaline.

I wrote the following story soon after finishing one of my early cuprian/paraiba type tourmalines from Mozambique. The year was 2002 and no one had publicly announced the discovery of cuprian tourmaline in Mozambique. That was to come three years … Continue reading

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More projects with tourmaline on the way.

A new page will appear that will have only tourmaline from my collect on it, in a few days. They will be for sale and the page will be run by my older daughter Laura. All inquires and questions should … Continue reading

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A winter update on my tourmaline world.

It maybe  cold outside, but my tourmaline world is heating up.  I have been posting again and making new contacts.  Some that could lead to new research on Laurellite, a reverse alexandrite color changer from Mozambique. On the rough side … Continue reading

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Finally a bit of golden orange tourmaline from the holiday season.

When I still worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania I would work diligently on a nice piece of rough tourmaline over the holidays.  It would help me get threw them without my family.  Now that I have been retired for … Continue reading

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Stay tuned for the latest breaking stories, there might be a mint (tourmaline) in it

Tourmaline Tribune Dateline Saturday December 12, 2015 Problems with a significant (expensive) piece of rough minty tourmaline continues past the preform stage.  The piece of rough was rate AAA and had almost a preformed shape for a square gem.  It … Continue reading

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A tourmaline trip, to cut a gemstone, like never before.

This quest for this beauty, I just cut, started most of ten years ago.  At the same time I was obtaining beautiful cuprian tourmaline from Mozambique, I got some lots from Afghanistan.  In one of the lots was a most … Continue reading

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Do you want to have fun on a dark winter night, looking at tourmaline?

I have been working on upgrading the tray section of this site.  In order to get a handle on the dynamic nature of color in tourmaline I have a number of different lights to use on them, to try and … Continue reading

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Learning from a strongly dichroic, vivid blue round, tourmaline.

One thing you learn early in the tourmaline game is that you can not cut a practical gemstone without including at least some principle axis (c axis) color.  An emerald cut with steep ends, on the order of 70 per … Continue reading

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How I have come to love the right kind of imperfections in tourmaline.

Everyone desires and admire the perfect tourmaline with a wonderful vivid color.  But how many times do you find such a tourmaline and if you did, could you afford it.  And finding and affording quality tourmaline seems to become harder … Continue reading

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Researching a bright blue green round that I just finished cutting.

The rough was expensive and that is understandable when it is glowing blue green tourmaline.  When it arrived I immediately recognized a nice piece of sea foam tourmaline with a medium tone level.  It had a stronger yellower c axis … Continue reading

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Snappy medium pastel gold with a sip of orange juice.

Fresh off the boat/plane this 3.47 carat standard round brilliant is the first major tourmaline I have cut in most of a year.  I have cut a couple of included specimens that came with this rough, about a 13 carat … Continue reading

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Fried Tourmaline and the Quest for Purplish Blue Color.

The roots of my quest for purplish blue tourmaline, goes all the way back to my renewed determination to cut and collect tourmaline over 10 years ago.  I wanted all the colors in the rainbow and more, which leaves tourmaline … Continue reading

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Cutting a True Blue Pebble into a Standard Round Brilliant with an Exceptional Eye.

A Tale of a Blue Tourmaline’s Missing Eye. The day started slow like most days in the Borough of Mars, a small town about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh Pa, but the cutter’s heart was a bit a flutter because … Continue reading

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Watermelon tourmaline, What is in a Name and a BIG CITY Museum Blunder

On the net again looking for something interesting in tourmaline.  I find pictures of beautiful tourmaline and information that is accurate.  Of course, following the lead of our news services, that doesn’t make interesting news.  But when I find an … Continue reading

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Life is sweet, apricot jam and the long road to victory.

This post is about a modest piece of rough that brought to the forefront the eternal battle between perfection and creating something beautiful.  I will let the stone tell its own story with an appropriate ending by the cutter, me. … Continue reading

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Cuprian Tourmaline, The Internet, Information

I have never tracked anything on the inter net like I have information about cuprian tourmaline.  I use the term cuprian tourmaline as a way to cover  all the flavors of tourmaline with copper (cu+2) as its chromophore.  This includes … Continue reading

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Treading water and holding my breath, for a color fix.

Summertime and the living is easy.  I have a great deal of outside work to do because I am painting my old story and half craftman house barn red and cream again.  The garden also takes much of my time, … Continue reading

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Tourmaline rough, higher price, but more normal supply.

If you have been reading some of my more recent posts, you will know that I am quite negative about the supply of interesting tourmaline rough in the market today.  And the little that is available is quite expensive by … Continue reading

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Disappointed in the Smithsonian again.

It was just a small book produced by the Smithsonian and devoted to gemstones.  The amount of information had to be limited, but I always scan such an introductory book on gemstones for its tourmaline presentation.  Well the Smithsonian failed … Continue reading

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Laurellite, reverse alexandrite color change and logic.

I have been a bit busier than usual talking with a well positioned gem expert on the property of reverse alexandrite color change in cuprian tourmaline from Mozambique.  By reverse I mean that “Laurellite” the name I have given the … Continue reading

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Its here, a new piece of cuprian rough from Mozambique

Over a year ago, my principle dealer in Africa said that he had just gotten a nice piece of cuprian rough tourmaline that probably came from a new location for cuprian in Mozambique.  I thought that I had read a … Continue reading

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Treatment in the Name of Beauty?

In an effort to work out a problem with my spectrometer I have a few minor cuprian tourmaline gemstones out of storage.  One of the gemstones is particularly close to my heart.  I bought the rough after the great escalation … Continue reading

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When is a tourmaline with three colors not a tricolor specimen.

I love tourmaline.  It keeps coming up with exceptions to the rules/definitions. Definition.  A tricolor tourmaline has three different colors as seen from a point of view perpendicular to the principle (c) axis.  It doesn’t depend on tourmaline’s dichroic nature … Continue reading

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Paraiba/paraiba type/paraiba like, overselling provenance

Paraiba tourmaline and the broader family of cuprian tourmaline has certainly been a driver for interest in the provenance of gemstones.  The price differential between Brazilian with the proper levels of tone and color and similar  African cuprian tourmaline is … Continue reading

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Laurellite, a rare one and getting rarer, cuprian tourmaline

I have been out on the internet again and reading about “rare” to incredibly “rare” gemstones.  There seems to be two assumptions made that are amazing.  One example is that all ruby that comes from Burma is high quality material, … Continue reading

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RIP The Quest for Quality Gem Rough for Custom Cutters

I have been out on the internet again reading about the gemstone news of the world.  It is not new to read about places like Pakistan/Afghanistan not producing up to their potential because of societal problems.  And it is not … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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Blue Purple Color a Tourmaline Quest

As I have written, one of the colors of tourmaline I wanted to obtain when I started cutting again after many years was blue purple.  One of the best things about being able to purchase unheated Mozambique cuprian tourmaline for … Continue reading

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Rubellite/Pink tourmaline, limitations on heating and irradiation.

The investigation of color in tourmaline and what causes it is complex.  Many investigators have proposed causes for the colors in tourmaline, but have either been unable to prove the conjecture or proven wrong.  In the case of the red … Continue reading

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Measuring and passing on information about color in tourmaline.

Today I sat down with some trays of tourmaline and access to a gemstone color matching system.  The system certain showed that a great deal of work had been done to present color in different cuts, tones, saturation besides just … Continue reading

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Finally finishing a couple of included pieces of blue green tourmaline

I am not sure that would have even purchase these two pieces of rough in the “old”days.  They did have nice colors in the pictures on the internet, but they were at best semifacet grade and were short sections of … Continue reading

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yellow color centers in cuprian tourmaline

A major factor in the color of gemstones is color centers.  Color centers do not depend on trace amounts of transition elements to produce the color, but by damage to the gemstone’s structure.  The creation of color centers is usually … Continue reading

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Paraiba/paraiba type tourmaline and treatments.

I have not seen a lot of finished Paraiba/paraiba type gemstones,  I have certainly cut a fair amount of different grades of rough.  I have also kept my ear to the ground and filled the air with questions. Since I … Continue reading

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Clarity treament of tourmaline

Clarity treatment of tourmaline has become much more of an issue with the prices of tourmaline raising and the premium paid for flawless stones.  A bit on what I feel about flaws in a tourmaline gem is useful here. 1,  … Continue reading

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Going nuts over Christmas

I hope everyone is having a pleasant holiday season.  I usually have a choice specimen to cut over Christmas since it a pretty quiet time for me.  But this year the rough stocking is empty.  Credible reports have come in … Continue reading

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On reading “The World of Jewel Stones” by Weinstein

In my travels I decided to pick up a copy of a book called “The World of Jewel Stones” by Michael Weinstein that was published in 1958.  I seldom get books that are this old about gemstones because they really … Continue reading

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“Polish Wars” the ongoing saga of constant effort.

When I started faceting tourmaline many years ago, diamond was not generally considered the best polish for tourmaline.  When I got back into faceting seriously about 15 years ago, I never considered diamond as a polish for tourmaline.  In part … Continue reading

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Defeated by a different tourmaline or I wish I was in the pink.

It is not the first time that I have set out on a quest with a tourmaline crystal that has basically a bluish gray to gray core and a bright pink irradiation coat.  The vendor did not have a good … Continue reading

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Coming up for air while cutting a standard round brilliant.

After just finishing a real nice vivid yellow oval tourmaline of about 1 carat the cutting of a smaller pale green standard round brilliant does not get the audience excited. (I really live alone and the audience is my an … Continue reading

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Going down the drain with the last yellow tourmaline.

Beating a dead horse doesn’t get you down the road very well, but I have to say again that the amount of interesting tourmaline rough on the market is abysmal.  I have truly looked in every little bag etc. that … Continue reading

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The Quest to Save Laurellite, a variety of cuprian tourmaline with a reverse color changer

When a new and beautiful gemstone is discover you would think that there would be excitement and pleasure in seeing another expression of the beauty of nature.  I read about the ultimate in rarity in gemstones and see interesting, but … Continue reading

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The long and winding path to making a droplet of color

It has been most of a year since I first saw the piece of rough on the inter net and decided to buy it.  It was stout water worn section of a crystal that was both dichroic and blue green.   … Continue reading

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A job well done in ways that will never be seen.

I just finished a standard round brilliant that is about 8 mm in diameter.  It is a very nice bright pastel blue with an even field of inclusions.  The gemstone has good crystal, polished beautifully with no imperfections in the … Continue reading

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To sell or not to sell is the question and when.

The price of quality tourmaline rough has jump up along with a sharp reduction in its availability.  This has made it difficult to continue to cut significant tourmaline gemstones for the collection.  I am down to cutting mostly droplets of … Continue reading

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Cuprian tourmaline and the spectrometer

I have certainly written about my spectrometer and the testing I did to discover which tourmaline in my collection contain copper, but not in this focused a manner before.  I decided to write this discussion because there was a debate … Continue reading

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A long and personal path to a passionate purple pinnacle.

In the beginning there was only a primeval need to crave all the colors of the rainbow and more in gemstones.  I had not cut a single gemstone in thirty years and I was on that newfangled thing called the … Continue reading

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Color droplets keep falling on my head and melting my heart.

I love color drops which are standard round brilliants that are around 6 mm in diameter.  With the availability of tourmaline rough at an all time low, at least for an amateur like me, I have been force to go … Continue reading

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Natural Beauties, a new direction that has been coming for sometime.

Large flawless pieces of colorful tourmaline are wonderful to cut and produce beautiful gemstones.  So I have certainly not sworn off my addition to such beauties.  But as the market has evolved, high quality tourmaline rough has basically become unavailable … Continue reading

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On my way to Vancouver, July 7, 2014, to show/talk tourmaline

Hi from Minot North Dakota.  I am well on my way  to talk about and showoff my collection on the west coast. The beauty of tourmaline needs to be seen in person and some features of tourmaline,such as the neon … Continue reading

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How dear is your tourmaline? Precious Rubellite!

Threw my friend a well known goldsmith in the Pittsburgh Pa area, I have come to know a fellow that sells melee, casts metal and has been involved in the lapidary trade for years. In the eighties a major find … Continue reading

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Totally inappropriate behavour with a strange twist, green emerald cut.

This post is on a personal trip down a path that I have just begun to travel with determination. The market in tourmaline is so bad for a custom cutter/me that I have decided to actively pursue getting only rough … Continue reading

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Finished a brown emerald cut from a round pebble of long ago.

When I started cutting again after a long hiatus and began to focus on tourmaline, I did not spend a lot of money on rough.  One of my purchases was a few pebbles of a strongly dichroic brown from Africa.  … Continue reading

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Trip to Vancouver and showing the collection of tourmaline.

Some months ago I said to Al, the man most responsible for this site being up and presenting my collection, that he deserved to see my collection in person.  Now the path from Mars Pa is a long one to … Continue reading

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Tourmaline as a Cinderella waiting to be discovered is over.

Cinderella as we all know was a beautiful, but under valued person that was discovered by the  prince and  love blossomed.  They lived happily ever after of course. Well I just read  in the latest introduction to a series of … 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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Welcome to a world of color in tourmaline

  This is the next stage in my continuing effort to bring the beauty of tourmaline to as wide an audience as I can.  Building on the great pictures of my collection of tourmaline by Jeff Smith I hope to … Continue reading

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