Scope of work and philosophy of effort.

This post is a simple attempt to describe my lapidary world that I have come to be comfortable with.  I hope to make it brief and it is not profound or inspirational, but I think it is down to earth.

When I started cutting again in the late 1990s after a hiatus of many years, I decided to buy an updated versions of the platform facetor I used as a kid in the 1960s.  The new machine was better suited for the type of work I wanted to do, but it is not in the same class as the most modern digital mast and boom machines.

I began to cut small stones from an assortment of materials, but as I grew more confident again, I was willing to put more resources into buying rough.  Then the time came for me to decide what I really wanted out of my hobby, lapidary.

I wanted to have a self cut collection of tourmaline with the widest selection of color that I could get.  I also wanted to cut them as well as I could with my existing equipment.  My platform faceter really did not limit me much, because I am a great believer in simple cuts and ones that truly enhance the beauty of a tourmaline, rather than demonstrate brilliance in cutting.  The small set of mostly traditional cuts, I could do and still enjoy the freedom I find with my style of cutting was enough for me.

With my eyes set on the best polish I could make on a tourmaline with my level of available effort and patience, I spend most of 5 years working on perfecting my polishing procedure.  It still has some problems and is nether time efficient nor prone to be rewarded economically, but I truly love the end result.  I think that tourmaline suffers from how easy it is to polish.  It is easy for the commercial cutters to do an acceptable polish and for the amateurs to beat the commercial ones, but that doesn’t push people to a higher level of perfection that I want.

I was fortunate to be in the market for tourmaline rough when copper bearing tourmaline appeared from Mozambique.  I purchased quite a bit before the discovery of copper in Mozambique, was announced by the GIA from work on tourmaline I supplied them, because I was on the quest for different colors in tourmaline.  With the changes in the tourmaline market, I am not able to buy as much high quality rough, but my quest for color goes unabated.

So my collection stands as a testament to the work of dedicated rough dealers, my willingness to spend significant amounts of resources on tourmaline colors that are not considered highly commercial (and some some that are), and a dedication to simple effective cuts with the best polish I could make.  I hope that you have enjoyed your time on my site, a site dedicated to sharing the beauty I see in the world of color in tourmaline with everyone.




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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