Some efforts will always stick in the memory and this large emerald cut is one of them. I had been unsuccessful in getting anything truly orange in any size, when the piece that became this gemstone came to my door. My principle dealer out of Africa had found it for me and it did not take me long to start the memory. I assumed it was a “Savanna” tourmaline from East Africa because it was exactly like smaller material I had cut over the years from there. Still I have never seen such a large piece advertised from that location. Also, if it was “Savanna) tourmaline, I have had some problems, like rough falling apart and hours spent on polishing a six mm round’s table with that material. Still I had the passion and determination of a younger man to take on this large piece of rough with questionable stability. It was orange.
The rough was completely flawless as is the stone cut from it. The cutting and polishing of the pavilion went well, but it is a sensitive stone to marking of the facets while polishing. I had been polishing on a stationary lap with vinegar and chelated alumina for sometime and the stone responded reasonably well to it until I hit the table. The stone is completely non-dichroic so I wasn’t sure (I am still not sure) where the c axis is, but it can be a real trouble maker with weaker stones. I think the trouble I had polishing the table, which was monumental, was more a result of the size of the facet and the physical support the faceting hand piece gives the table while polishing, than the c axis, but it certainly acted like a c axis problem.
I never polish a table of any size with the surface accurately positioned on the lap. I certainly adjust the hand piece often until I see that I am moving a false facet from the top/bottom/side of the table and then work to move the false face over the surface until the table is completely polished. At least that is the plan, but many times, with the table, I get too far away from the table, while adjusting the hand piece to complete the facet and the table develops a polishing mark. Sometimes these marks can be quite deep, I call them tears, and require completely recutting the table, which I do often. Other times I readjust the hand piece a little more off the angle of the table to bring direct pressure on the marked area and proceed to work the false facet made by polishing across the table. The work goes slowly because if you don’t keep establishing a flat facet as you go, the stone will mark.
I was working with this table from the right side and I should have probably recut the table more than I did. I was more determined then now to complete the polish on a damaged surface than I am now. It really is faster and less frustrating to just lightly take off the damaged polished surface with a well worn 3000 grit lap than try to make a large table completely polished when it has been torn.
Well this emerald cut’s table was weak and marked and marked. I began to wonder if I could finish the table the way I wanted to. I am very determined to have as perfect a table as possible, because the table is the pathway to the soul of the gemstone and should enhance, not obstruct its beauty. This table was marking at the trailing edge of the false facet just as I approached the completion of the table. After many attempts with varying pressure and chemistry the table was flat and polish and I was overjoyed. I can think of only one other large tourmaline that I have cut since, that gave me so much grief.
I have thought of the stone’s color as amber for a long time even though it is in line with the other oranges that I have cut since, with much less problems. It is completely orange without a hint of dichroism and has excellent crystal. Its eye clean nature is not bother by excessive browning and it flashes is in line with other large emerald cuts. It weighs 10.07 carats. It is still a notable gemstone in the collection even though it has been joined by more oranges from different locations. I doubt that I would buy such a large piece of “Savanna” rough again.