Outstanding Achroite with a Mystery

Latest summer while I was traveling trying to get research on color in tourmaline done I had a brand new tourmaline tested. It is the biggest achroite I have that I am sure has not been heated. It is water white and without any shades of grey. I have been reluctant about posting about new stones without having pictures available, but you really don’t need a picture for this one.

I really did not know what to expect when it was probed, but I never expected what I found out. It contains about 1 percent lead! I had never heard of such a tourmalinr, but they are out there and the lead is in the X site in the tourmalines matrix. The only signficant chromophore in the tourmaline was manganese. It must be in the Mn+2 oxidation state because it has no effect on the stone in anyway.

Why does this tourmaline exist. It demands more research. I am working on it.


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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