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.  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…




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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