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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1 Response to Outstanding Achroite with a Mystery

  1. toadandspur says:

    Hello Bruce,
    You appear to me to be the world’s authority on tourmaline. I’ve used every bit of search engine skill I have and haven’t approached even 10% of the information you have here in your archives specifically concerning high quality achroite. High praise to you sir!

    I have an achroite mystery of my own on my hands. I’ve done as much research as I can on this, and have no answer. My only hope was to find someone knowledgeable enough to help out first hand via web. I contacted a few people on Instagram I know to be knowledgeable, and only 2 of them had any achroite experience to speak of. One of them instantly said he has never seen a near perfect UNCUT achroite of this size and quality. It has minimal striations. Under 80x, very near impossible to see any air bubbles. Mere hints. *Zero* color. 1.3 percent copper via spectrometry at CCU this morning. It weighs 13.5grams. Single Terminated, cut out of unknown matrix. An acquaintance recently came back from Tanzania with a few “quartz crystals”.. I’m a decently experienced jewelry maker(I wrap stones daily in copper, gold and silver wires; raw/faceted/cabbed); I can pretty easily distinguish quartz from tourmaline! I didn’t even try to trick him in any way; immediately I informed him that two of the pieces of his handful (the rest were a mixture of what did in fact look like good loose points around the same size (ish) as the two I had picked out. I tried giving him a close-up and pointed out the faint but obvious tourmaline striations present in both stones..he didnt care and wasn’t convinced. I traded him a little Ethiopian opal(raw) that he liked from my collection for it, and left happy. I enjoy tourmaline, and I’d never seen such a pure one before and assumed immediately that it had to be either lab grown or heat treated. I had only in passing heard the term achroite before I began looking into this stone. It now appears to me, in rising excitement, from various tests done by myself and asking around a bit, that I may have in my possession something of potentially extraordinary value..I can only find 2 picture examples on the internet of a 65+ carat raw near flawless achroite. My example is 67.5 – According to the internet they don’t exist yet I have one.
    You have the knowledge here though. Is there any other information I can provide you that would help you determine value? I generally prefer uncut stones be prominent in my pieces, accented by much smaller .2-1.5 carat stones. This particular piece is centrally mounted, below a double terminated reticulated quartz, a 2mm diamond cut clear topaz, and above a heat treated single term quartz. I wanted to make a piece to exhibit different occuring examples of clear crystal, and the differences their in, to laymen. It may be surprising but the vast majority of people can tell no difference in any of the stones in this piece! They most frequently misidentify them all as quartz, and then notice the little “diamond” that they skeptically nod at when you inform them it’s a pretty decent little topaz…

    Much appreciated is any info on pricing for this stone and I will post pictures as soon as I can figure out how. Thank you!

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