Sing the praises of Paraiba, but not a dime for Mozambique.

This is a different twist on an old familiar tune.  And to start me going I went searching on the inter net by putting in  “tourmaline jewelery”.  It is not a subject that I have a great deal of interest in, but some of the people that handle it may try to “inform” the public about tourmaline and that interests me.

Now I have to admit that first few sites I looked at were out of Maine and they kept to tourmaline that may have come from Maine.  Even with that limitation, they didn’t really have much to say except that they loved tourmaline.  I can’t fault that.

Looking deeper, I found a NAME that I was expected to recognize, who was not just a jeweler, but an artist in gemstones and metal.   The page I dropped in on was about Paraiba tourmaline.  And it praised the marvelous tourmaline from Paraiba Brazil to the highest, alone with this fellows incredible insight into buying all he could get his hands on.  Everyone loves his beauties, oh and by the way, they are much more expensive now.   But unfortunately the deposit is depleted and Paraiba tourmaline is getting hard to get.  (I bet he still has some for sale).

Now I began to wonder how old this expressive page about Paraiba tourmaline was.  I was near the end of it and nothing had been said about material from Nigeria or Mozambique.  Well the final sentence save the day.  He said that Mozambique did produce similar material, but the tourmaline was too GREEN.

This is such a silly statement, that I wasn’t even outraged!  Of all the things to complain about on God’s green earth, the colors of copper bearing tourmaline (some paraiba like) from Mozambique is not one of them.   With a greater appreciation and resultant price for unheated cuprian tourmaline, the world of color in cuprian tourmaline from Mozambique has blossomed wonderfully.   This includes purples that never made it to market from Brazil without heating because it was the color, or so it was said, that sold Paraiba.  And Mozambique and Nigeria have that color, cyan, with or without heating or there never would have been a conflict over using the name paraiba for all cuprian tourmaline within a certain range of colors.  Brazilian Paraiba would have stood alone.



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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