On my way to Vancouver, July 7, 2014, to show/talk tourmaline

Hi from Minot North Dakota.  I am well on my way  to talk about and showoff my collection on the west coast. The beauty of tourmaline needs to be seen in person and some features of tourmaline,such as the neon glow of some cuprian can not be seen any other way.

Hi, it is July 28th and I am back in Mars.   It was a great trip and I meet with many fine people.  It was very pleasing to hear the interest and appreciation of the tourmaline in my collection.  I will be posting more details when I get my feet under me.  It really was a time for tourmaline.

I left Mars Pa, my home, with my son and his girl friend on the last Friday in June to see my older daughter at her home in Grand Rapids Michigan.  After a nice visit, my son and girl friend returned to Pennsylvania, I stayed in Michigan until I started west on July 5, 2014.  As I drove north I saw fewer homes/people and more trees.  After crossing into the upper peninsula Michigan I mostly saw trees until I reached the plains in North Dakota.  I was traveling route 2 which follows the rail road and is about 50 miles south of the Canadian border.   I had never been to North Dakota before and it was soul searching to ride the wind down a two lane road threw checkered fields of winter wheat.  It had been a wet year and the wheat seemed to be emerald green against the un-planted fields.  It isn’t as flat as some of the middle west, but I could see the mountains coming from a long way off.  The mountains near Glacial National park ares full of tourist and things to see, but I had had enough on the plains and headed for my motel room.  I did ask about somewhere to walk and landed on a path down by the local stream, that was nice to use, since it was away from traffic.  The traffic was pretty wild after being alone on the plains earlier that day.

Early next morning I headed for the border.  I think I picked a good spot to try and bring my collection of tourmaline into Canada.  It took some discussion and a bit of paper work, but within an hour I was headed down route 3 in Canada.  Now route 3 is the major road threw southern British Columbia, but it is only an improved two lane highway.  And this is NOT the plains.  I had a great time going up and down and around as I headed west.  After handling some significant hairpin curves I descended into a long narrow valley.  The town at the bottom looked a bit like southern California with its pastel building and sun tanned crowd of kids.   I went directly to my motel and then investigated the neighborhood.   I saw many fields of fruit trees and ended up buying some of the best cherries and apricots I have eaten.  The most notable stop between the border crossing and the valley had been a sky high old mining camp that was now a sky resort.  It was well restored and developed, which was quite a contrast to the endless miles (kilometers) of trees and turns.

The next day I head for route one, the trans Canadian highway and on to Vancouver BC.  The traffic was quite a change from the mountains.  When I got close to Vancouver, I decided to go exploring since I was quite early to settle down in the hotel I had in the middle of the city.   I got thoroughly lost and finally had to ask for help.  Fortunately a native had me follow him to the nearest highway and an easy trip into town.  I was able to meet with a  small group of interested cutters while spending time with my site’s guru, Allen, who put this web site together.  The second day I was invited to the home of a well known cutter and got to see her set up and play with stones.

The following day I headed for a friends in Oregon and did not have any problems getting back into the states because the paper that had been filled out when I went into Canada.  I am certainly glade that I entered Canada from Montana because the crossing into Washington was very busy.  After resting with my friend outside of Corvallis in Oregon, I proceeded down route 5 into the promised land of California.  The large reservoir north of Redding California was practically empty and I didn’t go too far down the central valley until I rested in Cottonwood California.   It was a rather small dusty place where I got the best hamburger of the trip along with a quart of strawberries and a quart of blackberries.

It was great to reach San Jose the next day and get to talk with a friend that had helped me get my discovery of a reverse color changing cuprian tourmaline from Mozambique inspected by the GIA.  It about ten years since the discovery was made and verified by the GIA, but the amount of information about Laurellite (the name I choose to give it) is not very great.  (To inform people about Laurellite and the beauty of tourmaline is part of the reason that this site exists).  I round out my stay in the San Fransisco area, by visiting an important owner of a gemological site on the inter net.   I was pleased with the positive response I got to the quality and breath of my collection.   After having an exciting time getting out of San Fransisco during rush hour, I headed down to Laguna beach just south of LA.

I was nice to see all the fruit and nut trees in the central valley, but say to see the signs about the lack of water.  I certainly hope that get a good snow cover in the mountains this winter.  I had gotten up early and got threw LA during the middle of the day, rather than later during the rush hour.  I still had construction to contend with, but I went straight down route 5 and landed early in the afternoon.  I contacted the dealer in African paraiba and Alexandrite and we ended up in a very nice restaurant that adjoins the beach.  The weather was wonderful and sea and sky a beautiful blue.  We spent the afternoon looking at gemstones.  A little business transpired and I was ready to head home the next day.  After continuing south to the out skirts of San Diego I took interstate 15, to route 70, to route 79 and home to Mars.  I did stop early one day and walk threw Palisades where I pick peaches years ago when I went to college in Colorado.  They still grow  peaches in down and Palisades seems to be doing OK.  My final stop was in St Louis to work on my spectrometer that had friend had had upgraded.  We weren’t too successful with the equipment, but I was able to visit an estate with a large house that was really a private museum.  I got to show off my collection of tourmaline one more time in return for seeing many private treasures.

Besides personally visiting people of note in the gem world I refined my ideas about what “cuprian tourmaline” really is.  I will be writing on the page with fully cooked ideas about my opinion.

It was a great trip with my old car that now has 292,000 miles on it, but never failed to make it up the hill and out on the plains.  I certainly will be traveling again.



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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1 Response to On my way to Vancouver, July 7, 2014, to show/talk tourmaline

  1. bft_admin says:

    Well, for those who were fortunate enough to meet Bruce and view his spectacular collection in person, it was a great day. We spent several hours talking and marvelling over the range of colours as well as the sheer size of some of his tourmaline gemstones.

    There were several examples of those fabled neon-blue Paraiba-type cuprian tourmalines, as well as many examples of unheated cuprians in several different colours and shades.

    If you think the galleries and posts of Bruce’s stones are spectacular, you’ll be left breathless when you see the sheer number of stones in the collection in person. It was an amazing experience, one that I won’t soon forget.

    Thanks Bruce for making the effort to cross the continent to visit us – and you’re welcome back anytime!


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