Category Archives: Personal Stories

Personal stories about collecting and cutting tourmaline gemstones

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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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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Off to see America and Canada with tourmaline in hand.

There really is no substitution for seeing a beautiful tourmaline upfront and personal.  So I am off to see a wide part of America and Canada with gemstones in hand.  I have never taken the northern route to the west … 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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100 % Niagara White Grape Juice In An Emerald Cut Tourmaline?

I am writing this on February 2, 2014 and the availability of rough tourmaline  has never looked worse in my opinion.   Between wars and competition from commercial processors of rough for mainly Eastern buyers, the amateur cutter, like myself,  encounters … Continue reading

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Sing the praises of Paraiba, but not a dime for Mozambique.

This is a different twist on an old familiar tune.  And to start me going I went searching on the inter net by putting in  “tourmaline jewelery”.  It is not a subject that I have a great deal of interest … 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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The glowing difference between Paraiba tourmaline and Ruby.

Just got back from a trip down “Cuprian Tourmaline Lane” on the inter net.  I really don’t think that the confusion will ever abate when it comes to color, neon glow, vivid color and the composition of Paraiba, paraiba like, … 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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Prized Plume almost did not get baked in my pudding, purple red oval.#293

A large water worn pebble was offered for sale and was not getting any takers.  It has a reddish color with an overtone of purple, but its tone level was dark.  Now I don’t have any of my stone treated … Continue reading

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The Laurellite “discovery” gemstone. Cuprian tourmaline from Mozambique#944

This GEM, exceptional gemstone, started my path in helping discover copper bearing tourmaline from Mozambique.  I gave her, Laurellite, as a name that is based on my older daughter’s name, because this exceptional, new variety of Elbaite, deserves a pretty … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading

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slightly included, green powerhouse, emerald cut, Afghanistan#446

Viva La Afghanistan and its tourmaline.  This hunk of an emerald cut is pure tourmaline heaven. Now it is slightly included and I can see those pesky disturbances in the force, deep in this flashing well of green, but it … Continue reading

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Well saturated yellow green, medium plus tone level emerald cut. Namibia#442

I like this gemstone.  It has too rich a tone level, at medium plus to really stand out in the tray without help, but it has such a classic yellow green tourmaline color when I help it, that it makes … Continue reading

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The elusive color of yellow green in the oval.#1155

At times I have used the word “dynamic” to discuss color in tourmaline excessively.  But thinking back threw the posts I have written for my site, I have not used the term that much.  Maybe it is because the pictures … Continue reading

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Standout Dichroic blue green oval#1141

Most of my later, higher number trays, are a mixture of gems as I cut them and not the ordered field that my son put together after the last Carnegie Museum show.  With the desire to post information about every … Continue reading

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Included hot pink emerald cut.#1123

  When I was in college I played a lot of duplicate bridge after the first year or so of study.  I had to lean a lot of rules and got better at the game.  But after some time I … Continue reading

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Flash, deeply cut round almost save from being brewed by the IceT group.#1112

It has been a while since I have discussed the IceT group, which is a far right splinter group in the color world of tourmaline.  The group’s goal is to provide support and comfort to a select group of tourmaline … Continue reading

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Apple green, medium toned, oval, Mozambique#1101

This is a beautiful gemstone.  The discovery and production,from a location in Mozambique of apple green rough, from which I recently cut (2012) this stone, appears to have had world wide repercussions.  This is according to a recent article by … Continue reading

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A special pink from Mozambique, cuprian.#49

The story you are about to hear is true and no names  will be mention to protect the innocent if there are any. I had just purchased one of the most important pieces of rough I will ever be blessed … Continue reading

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A great red GEM from Nigeria, round#47

Well this is my vote for the best Rubellite/red in the collection.  I have bigger ones with great color and I have smaller ones with great color.  Some are brighter and flashier than others and some have cleanliness problems.  They … Continue reading

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Historic lavender deeply cut round, Mozambique, cuprian#31

This round has a horizontally split main pavilion and a deep crown.  This helped produce a stronger medium light tone value in the first lavender tourmaline I had ever seen.  The stone is eye clean and with fine crystal. This … Continue reading

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Nobody, Laurellite and the GIA.

In this post I will try and give you my point of view on the events that lead to the discovery of copper as a chromophore in gem quality tourmaline from Mozambique by the Gem Institution of America (GIA).  I … Continue reading

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Walking the stone, a rite of passage. A Laurellite moment of a lifetime.

I purchase most of my tourmaline rough off of the inter net and the color rendition of the rough is not the best to say the least.  When I get the rough, I may have emotions about its color and … 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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A deep round in yellow washed with green.#116

Once upon a time I had a roommate, during my freshman year at college, that appeared to have pink underwear and socks.  Now this was in 1966 and some social movements had really not come out of the closet.  So, … 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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Small Namibian blue round, droplets of the gods.#103

I don’t mind taking a moment to talk about Namibian blue tourmaline.  Namibia is one of the small, select, group of locations in the world that  produces brilliant pure blue tourmaline that deserves to be call Indicolite.  The material can … Continue reading

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When red is not enough, brown red round. #74

This is the “red” that goes brown. (maybe call it red) This is the “red” that goes orange (maybe call it color changer) This is the “red” that is stable. (maybe call it Rubellite) Metamerism is when two color samples, … 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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An exceptional bright blue green emerald cut turns out to be cuprian.#388

It is amazing to me, that after climbing the pinnacles and wandering threw the valleys, of Namibian blue green tourmaline, there is a gemstone that transcends all of them in the same tray.  The gemstone does not have the most … Continue reading

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Impressive Amber Colored Emerald Cut#541

Some efforts will always stick in the memory and this large emerald cut is one of them.  I had been unsuccessful in getting anything truly orange in any size, when the piece that became this gemstone came to my door.  … 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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One of the glories of the collection, Deep Peach and wonderful Round.

It just seems inadequate to call this wonderful stone a round.  It has a pavilion of ten mains of a split nature and the crown is my favorite choice of a modified step cut with 8 mains for brilliant depth.  … Continue reading

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Hot included pink, long oval

There really seems to be two distinct groups of pinks in the tourmaline world.  There are the naturally clean pinks that may have feathers and flaws etc, but the crystal is good and nature just has not very been nice … Continue reading

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Included purple cuprian round from Mozambique

Sometimes I think that movie critics are not the people that should judge which pictures people should like.  They have seen so many films that they can not judge the individual movie without considering how it works within the world … Continue reading

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A spunky pale yellow pastel oval that is included.

It has been a long time since I have stopped to look at an old friend.  When I started cutting again after a long hiatus, I purchase lots (parcels) of smaller rough.  I had set out to find color and … Continue reading

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My secret place

It has been a challenge to keep posting descriptions of my collection’s stones as quickly as I can, while seeing the stones under a limited number of white light sources.  This is not to say that when I cut the … Continue reading

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An Included Little Violet Cuprian Oval

The story of copper and tourmaline is fascinating to me.   Research indicated that copper acted as a chromophore (coloring agent) in tourmaline predated the discovery of commercial copper bearing tourmaline in Paraiba Brazil by many years.  But it certainly was … Continue reading

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Where does my tourmaline come from?

A good question that I will try and address from both reading and personal experience.  I will break it down into three parts, 1, Location from sellers,  2, Location from inclusions,  3, Location from chemistry. 1,  Most of my dealings … Continue reading

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Deep Rewards for a Nice Pink Round

I love standard round brilliants and as you can tell from the collection, I have cut a few.  When the gemstone is small enough there are some adequate simplified cuts that are effective, but I have never felt that any … Continue reading

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A bit of my life and the start of a great adventure.

  The following tourmaline tale of sad and glad was written in April 2002 and though the set up is fictional, the stone discussed (posted above) and the events in the tale are real.  It turned out to be a … 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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In honor of the 4th of July a trip down Freedom Road.

The following description of going down Freedom Road from Mars Pa. was written over 10 years ago.  It was my attempt to give a feeling of the land that I have come to call my own, after inspecting many industrial … Continue reading

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Copper, Red, Tourmaline, A Christmas tale

Dec. 29th 2009 On the night before Christmas I was again examining my tourmaline collection with my new spectrometer in search of SOMETHING. I have gotten better with it and alone with double checking some earlier cuprian tourmaline I began … Continue reading

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I Am Not A Heater and the first “Laurellites”

April 10th 2009 I keep reading literature on heating cuprian Elbaite with a growing sadness. I am reading about the demise, that I knew was taking place, of a new variety of Elbaite that is little recognize, appreciated or conserved. … 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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Very Pale, but Peachy oval#960

  This very pale pastel is very clean and bright and has a color that is just a hint of something.  I am sure that some people would say the color drifts into pink, but it is not a pure … 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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A trip to Mars (my little town)

  It is late spring and nestled in a valley surrounded by lush hills of maturing foliage is a borough called Mars.  It was probably named after an early settler (abbreviation of Marshall), but the town has sold the connection … Continue reading

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Harvest Completed for Pennsylvania Potatoes

The day held great promise as I drove down the dirt road to my uncles.  The farm sits high on a hill overlooking a valley that contains a stream called the Little Loyalsock. The area is called the endless mountains … Continue reading

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