Orange, to be or not to be, it is. All hale a glory of tourmaline.

Orange will never be number one in the world of color in tourmaline. Much of it is either desaturated under all reasonable white lights or at least under more bluish light (Brownish cast). But there are exceptions and I have been looking for them for a long time.
Recently I receive a new lot of tourmaline rough from Africa. In the lot was a group of orange to peach colored pieces that all ran less than a gram. This was my “keep me cutting” between the presenting of new pages of rough on the internet. One rather rough piece stood out from the mainly peach colored rough that I think came from Mozambique.
The stand out certainly had a great tone value for a small piece and its saturation appeared to be vivid, which is my favorite color. Just kidding vivid is not a color, But it is a great quality of color when you have it.
Now I generally do not cut all the best pieces of rough first from a new order. I try to mix up the levels of effort and risks involved with all the rough I have. So I cut some nice stone from my new material, but orange one kept popping up in my mind. I decided that there was no reason to hold off any longer.
It was not a pretty piece of rough. It had a more or less triangular shape with an old fracture that left a pit in the only practical side for the table. But that was not the worst of it. There was o deep slot, like the tourmaline had partially formed around something shaped like a pipe. Great care was going to be needed to get much out of this tourmaline that weighed much less than a gram. All that being said, the grinding away of the piece’s choppy surface did not leave a very deep preform.
No one commercially could ever afford to put the time in on this small round, but I could really begin to senses the power of its orange as I work under both incandescent and daylight.
So now it is finish and it was well behaved and took a flawless polish. I have also compared it to the rest of the oranges that were in the running to be elected the president of oranges. It was ahead in the poles from the beginning and won by a land slide. This 1.11 carat standard round brilliant is a beacon of sparkling orange power the likes of which, I never though I would see. It has proudly taken a place of honor in the circle of beauty called droplets of color.
Sated for now, but never satisfied, the quest for beauty in the wonderful world of color in tourmaline must continue, despite the cost.


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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