Gigantic paraiba type gemstones for millions.

I put museum grade tourmaline in the search engine and away I went.  I found two gigantic (around 50 to 60 carats each) faceted tourmalines called “paraiba” because they contain trace elements of copper and manganese and were within a certain range of colors.  They were beautiful gemstones, but I would like to present my complaints about how they were advertised/presented.

1,  Their great size and exceptional clarity, precludes them from coming from Brazil.  Therefore they can not be called Paraiba, but were.  The proper nomenclature is paraiba-like gemstones.

2,  The gemstones were presented under excessive lighting conditions that I guess was done to try and simulate the “glow” the eye/mind perceives when seeing Paraiba and paraiba-like and paraiba-type tourmaline in person.

3,  There is a high probability that the gemstones had been heated to eliminate the reddish tone that is produced by manganese.  But no mention is made about whether heating was done or not.

4,   The trade continues to focus on color, color and more color with cuprian Elbaite in the range of colors that can be called Paraiba or paraiba-type.  but the color these two gemstones posses is not unique to Paraiba/cuprian Elbaite.  Iron can produce the same fine color.  Because of this the iron colored material has been designated to be paraiba-like.

5,   The most important property that the two gigantic tourmaline must have is the visual presents that some call, neon, electric or a more traditional and accepted term of vivid.  A gemstone can come from the right place, have copper and manganese and be the correct color and not have the visual presence that it most have to be worth the top dollar that they wanted for these gemstones.   This should be emphasized in the presentation.

5,  As a final observation, you will not see the genuine glow/visual effect over the inter net even in the seller’s fancy videos/pictures.  The visual impact of high quality cuprian tourmaline (some of which is called paraiba etc.) has to be seen in person.  And it is best seen under a yellowish light, like incandescent, in a finished gemstone.  So before you put that 4,000,000 dollars or more into a fine tourmaline,  I would suggest that you see the gemstone in person, under a variety of light sources.  (It would also help to have $4,000,000 handy.)





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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