In my travels I decided to pick up a copy of a book called “The World of Jewel Stones” by Michael Weinstein that was published in 1958. I seldom get books that are this old about gemstones because they really are only of historical interest. But in this case I had run into an important and famous internet site that referenced information from this encyclopedic tome about color in tourmaline. The information was incorrect unfortunately, but it had sparked an interest in knowing what kind of setting this book had made for tourmaline in general.
Well after reading many pages of sometimes overly detailed information about diamonds, (The thickness of an alluvial gravel deposit in a remote area of Brazil, the Cullinan diamond had a flaw, etc.), I finally got to a chapter labeled Topaz, Tourmaline, Peridot and Zircon. The chapter was twelve pages long and of that, three pages were devoted to tourmaline. Three pages that were either incorrect or so incomplete that they should not have been included in the attempt to make this book more than a personal collection of facts about diamonds. Now I am not saying that the author does not have more personal facts about gemstones other than diamond sprinkled threw out the book, but he obviously did not research tourmaline except for the basic facts that can be gotten out of a mineralogy textbook.
Now it is disappointing that the book failed with tourmaline, but it is old, dated and I should let an old horse die without grumping. Well its spirit has not died. New experts have come forward to write about tourmaline, now that it has become a gemstone of substance, with the discovery and popularization of Paraiba and the cuprian buzz. People that have made their name in diamonds and “precious” gemstones. People that never stooped to the level of “semi precious” tourmaline in the past, but now proclaim their years of study and interest. Well they get a lot wrong and should not be padding their new efforts to teach the world about gemstones with information on tourmaline, when they should stick to what they know or at least research well. The complex tourmaline world is fraught with danger for great sounding generalized statements that can have exceptions and imitations.