To sell or not to sell is the question and when.

The price of quality tourmaline rough has jump up along with a sharp reduction in its availability.  This has made it difficult to continue to cut significant tourmaline gemstones for the collection.  I am down to cutting mostly droplets of color (about 5 mm rounds) and genuine beauties (larger included rough) to keep my apatite for color in  tourmaline under control.

I have talked to people about selling gemstones and I have a fine goldsmith that is a friend of mine, that I think would be willing to design custom jewelry for my progeny.  So how would I get the word out that high quality tourmaline is available, that has been cut to much higher standards than commercial gemstones.

Someone suggested that I work with an auction house with sections that specialize in jewelery/gemstones.  So  last night I was surfing the internet and under purple tourmaline I found an auction that had been concluded, which sold a purple tourmaline for so many hundreds of dollars.  The picture of the gemstone showed a pinkish purple beauty, that is a classic color for cuprian tourmaline from Mozambique.

Everything seemed like it was fine until I read a little farther and heard the cuprian tourmaline gemstone described as paraiba type.  Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!!!   The gemstone obviously contains copper, but it is not an accepted color for paraiba type gemstones.  If it was heated to reduce the red factor from the higher oxidation state of manganese, the gemstone will probably turn a very pale blue, a paraiba color.  But it would be a blue that would neither have the tonal values determined by the trade to essential for paraiba type material or the “neon” glow that I feel is essential for any tourmaline to use the label “paraiba”.

So how can I be true to anyone that might want to buy my tourmalines threw an auction house that doesn’t really know what it is talking about?  That of course is a rhetorical question, I can’t.  So I will continue to search for a way to get good homes for my creative efforts that will give me a fair return on my effort and not skim off the cream and render my collect of little interest (at least for now).


The nomenclature for cuprian tourmaline is really messed up and I have posted about it before.

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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