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. The material should be called Dravite because of it’s color, but I have no way of telling if it is the high magnesium species Dravite. The tourmaline had been in the stream a long, long time and did not show anything, but a smooth frosted surface without any hint of crystal shape.
Now I sliced the pebbles with my saw, but because their c axis was almost optically dense, I never cut one. Now that tourmaline rough has become both very expensive and even unavailable in the market, I am cutting everything I have. Even old sliced pebbles with dark sides.
Now I know that I have to cut an emerald cut with steep angles perpendicular to the c axis to get a decent gemstone, even if the rather small split pebbles are not ideally suited for that shape. I think that this is the first time I have ever done this specific exercise in shape changing because I have never purchase very much closed ended tourmaline and what have, has the typical pencil shaped crystal.
The material polished very well and made the cutting of a smaller emerald cut rather trivial. Still color is the name of the game in my world of tourmaline and in this instant the old brown pebble did not fail me. The finished gemstone is bright and has a bit of spice, that is in good quality African Dravite.
So the moral of the story is some good can come from a bad situation. I would have never cut this small darken ended brown tourmaline, if the market for tourmaline wasn’t so tight. And much to my surprise, it was worth cutting. Now if I can only find its mates…