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 assortment of imaginary friends.)  The rough was not expensive since it was pretty included, but I did a brilliant job of preforming and it was going to be a nice addition to the collection.  The cutting went normally and I polished the mains without too much difficulty.  Then I hit the breaks and I thought I was working on the c axis.  I had cut the preform with the table at 45 degrees to the principle axis.  It is a very nice way to cut some tourmaline when they either have no visible dichroism or you want to mix the colors.  In this case it was just a natural way to go with the rough.  Well the facets began to crumble.  Even when I was being good and not pushing, deep marks appeared.  I was thinking about writing how difficult some tourmaline can be and this despite the very low level of tone, when it dawn on me that the stone was obviously NOT a tourmaline.

I have not had the gemstone tested for IR, but I am sure that the pale piece is beryl.  I have had problems with this mix up ever since tourmaline has arrived as an “expensive” gemstone.  So I put the gemstone away for a time in the future, when I might go back to the old ways and easily polish it off.  For now it is back into the tourmaline fray.



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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