The title of this post should be put up in neon lights, because this top grade sea foam gemstone is so bright. It also appears to be eye clean with great crystal. On top of all that it has a great medium tone level. This is a GEM in the world of tourmaline. The emerald cut weighs 5.76 carats.
Now for a report on an experiment that I ran with Afghan sea foam gems. I had only one incandescent light on in my dining room where I cut stones. The natural light level was decreasing and I placed a group of sea foam gems on a table half way across the room. Some of the gems were top quality sea foam from this posted gemstone’s lot and others were from a lot of nice medium grade sea foam that is without the neon glow. As the sky darken, the lesser sea foam went dark at the expected rate, while the top grade sea foam stayed brighter as if they were generating light rather than just reflecting light from my single incandescent light. This ability to reflect so much more light than the eye/mind expects to see, from a gemstone with a certain tonal value, fools the eye/mind into thinking the gemstone is producing light. This causes the neon look in tourmaline in my opinion.
The neon look is also exceptionally important in cuprian tourmaline (Paraiba, paraiba type). This is because it separates high quality cuprian tourmalines from tourmalines that have the exact same cyan blue color (they are colored by iron and I can see the difference with my spectrometer), which can now be called paraiba like, but lack the neon look and copper. The situation is even more complex with cuprian tourmaline since, just like the sea foam in the experiment, some lesser grades of cuprian tourmaline do not have the neon look while the higher grades of both sea foam and cuprian have the exceptional neon look. I would like to clarify a point. Lesser sea foam, paraiba like and lesser cuprian tourmaline can all be very bright stones, when they are clean and have good tone levels, but do not standout with the same visual impact as a true neon gem.
The use of neon to describe tourmaline gemstones is somewhat controversial and the phenomenon varies greatly between similarly colored stones as I have tried to point out. It is also impossible to photograph, because the resulting pictures just look over exposed to me. This problem along with the scarcity of truly high quality neon gems, can lead to protracted debates about the actual existence of the neon effect. Well I promise you this, if you get to have a personal moment with a neon tourmaline, under reasonable lighting, you will feel its power.