After awhile the dealers I dealt with out of Africa realized that I was a buyer of something different in tourmaline. If they could just come up with a good attempt at “different color” it didn’t have to be commercial for me. In this vein, I received an email, that a dealer had obtained a purple tourmaline and would I be interested? Well purple has been and still is a color quest for me. The dealer wanted to know right away because it was the first piece of rough he had gotten like this and someone else was interested. Now he really didn’t need to put me in a competitive feeding position, I was already hooked.
When I received the piece of rough I was somewhat disappointed. It was strongly dichroic and the a/b axis was a rather pale brownish purple. The c axis, was dark, but you could see that it was a fine reddish purple. It was a definite purple and not just a purplish red that could still be called Rubellite.
I actually ended up purchasing two of the purple tourmalines. One, which was the first, ended up being cut into an emerald cut. The darker purple ends did produce a purple stone, but the brownish middle, made it almost look like a piece of wood. The second piece, that is the posted stone, came out the more effectively balanced gemstone. I would use the Barion cut more often to mix the dichroic colors, but it is too deep for most tourmalines, without cutting their girdles down too much, to get a good yield.
The lighter toned pinkish purple with a touch of brown is only found in the middle of the Barion cushion. It is completely overwhelmed by the mixing of the darker toned c axis color in the ends, that has better saturation. The c axis color is what became known as blackberry blush in the collection. It is the color you get when ripe blackberries are piled on a piece of paper towel, with the result that some of the sweet berries are crushed a little. This tasty gemstone appears to be eye clean and of good crystal. The gemstone is too darkly toned to be extremely flashy or bright, but it does have substance and authority. It weighs 4.70 carats.
Now I like this gemstone and it is one of only two I have in the collection, but when I was offered more, I declined. I had moved on to the point that I emailed the dealer, he should let the other fellow have the purple. I have never had another opportunity to get more blackberry blush. Today I would buy more if I could, but then there aren’t nearly as many opportunities in the tourmaline market, today, as there was 10 years ago.