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 over seven years, I have plenty of time year around, but very little tourmaline to cut. The market for interesting tourmaline continues to be very poor. Still I did work on a little golden emerald cut with flashes of orange. A friend sent me the rough and it had been sawed. The most unusual feature of the rough was that I could develop a longer ratio emerald cut with its table perpendicular to the c axis. This lets both the dichroic colors mix together and gives a richer uniform color to the gemstone. I don’t think that it is the species Dravite because it gave me absolutely no problems polishing and I don’t think that it is a “sunset” tourmaline, because it did not try and fall apart on me. It did have a couple of flaws that reduced my yield, but I have come to expect that in even AAA graded material. I try very hard to eliminate any flaws the extend into the body of the tourmaline from the surface, because they can be a threat to the integrity of the finished gemstone when it is set or cleaned.
I just finished walking the 1.05 carat emerald cut on one of the first sunny days that we have had in a while. It is certainly flashy and in a color that is very different than most tourmalines. The dominant reddish side of yellow shapes the color of this gemstone and prevents even a hint of green that washes over so many blue and yellow tourmaline. No brownish overtones to force me to call this little beauty a dravite. (I have been informed that much of the desaturated brown tones in the dravite gem variety are caused by titanium not iron.)
I hope that we all have a fine new year with a bit of tourmaline color in it.