passionate plume, a red purple with a different twist

passionate plume rich purplish red copper bearing oval from Mozambique.
Very few of my tourmalines have actual picked up a name that stays with it very long, but this is an exception. It is a large stone. over 10 carats, with a high tone level that demanded that the stone be cut as thinly as possible while retaining the proper pavilion angles and decent crown thickness. Even with the thin cut, the stone has more of a rich and sultry look than being flashy. What sets this stone apart from other rather dark Rubellites is a purple cast to the red that is just not in your normal Rubellite’s nature. Now purple in tourmaline makes me think of copper, rich purplish red is not uncommon in tourmaline. Still I wanted to test it for the copper absorption peaks, but my spectrometer proved to be inadequate due to its limited extension into the infrared and complications from manganese (Mn+3) in reddish tourmaline. Without the absorption data I was left sift threw what I know about tourmaline from Mavuco Mozambique. The rough for passionate plume was pure, this was the only color that came out during the early development of the deposit that was pure, the rough was completely water worn which is always the case with Mavuco material and Mavuco was producing a large percentage of the interesting tourmaline from Mozambique at the time. Enough circumstantial evidence to push to get the gemstone tested (without costing too much). I was finally able to get a university laboratory to have an absorption curve done on passionate plume and the copper peaks were there. This confirms my speculation that the rough came from Mavuco and that it would heat to a lavender and then even a pale blue if heated long enough. I don’t heat tourmaline or usually buy rough that I know has been treated in any fashion. I am looking for “natural” color and to have a copper bearing red that has not been heated to reduce its tone level or change its color is quite rare. The “Icing on the cake” is that I did not buy the rough as cuprian and therefor it was much more affordable.


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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