The Quest to Save Laurellite, a variety of cuprian tourmaline with a reverse color changer

When a new and beautiful gemstone is discover you would think that there would be excitement and pleasure in seeing another expression of the beauty of nature.  I read about the ultimate in rarity in gemstones and see interesting, but not necessarily beautiful examples of the few specimens that have been discovered.  But if you’re a collector of rare gemstones, I get the message that you really must have one of each for you’re collection.

Well I am on a quest to make one the rarest gemstones to be recently discovered a “collectible” item.    This gemstone is a cuprian tourmaline that possesses the property of a reverse Alexandrite color change.   I discovered it in material that came from Mozambique and to the best of my knowledge has not come from anywhere else.  But that is hard to prove because Laurellite, a name I have given the new variety of Elbaite tourmaline, can and is destroy  to produce Paraiba like cyan colored gemstones.  I have discussed this in many ways on this site so I will not go into any details here.

The quest I have begun is to show the world that this unique variety of gemstone, that has the only known example of reverse Alexandrite color change in any material, deserves to be saved and displayed to the public.  I find a good number of people are fascinated by color change in gemstones, but it is not necessarily an easy property to present.  And the price of paraiba like gemstones, with a fine cyan blue color and neon look, have skyrocketed.   So the economic imperative to heat suitable purples along with an unknown percentage of Laurellite, to produce extremely expensive paraiba like gemstones gemstones is over whelming in most cases.  Basically all the purples that were found in Paraiba Brazil were heated to change their color.  I don’t think that it will be as bad with Mozambique material, because  some of the purples that were found are outstanding and have a limited amount of copper.  There is also a greater appreciation of the different colors of tourmaline than there use to be.  (This still needs work in my opinion and part of the reason for this site.)

I also hope to find a museum that will not only keep Laurellite safe in its custody, but that will display it well(and other color changing/shifting gemstones) for the enjoyment of the public.  They deserve to see the true potential of natures ability to be fascinating and beautiful.

Wish me luck as you may be one of the people that gains from the effort.



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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