Yellow’s chief defender, a very nice yellow shield cut


saturated yellow shield cut The best yellow tourmaline in the collection. Only lightly included with flaws that are not distraction.

The effort to fill out the color wheel with tourmaline in the pure yellow area has been an interesting quest.  Yellow green is one of the most common colors in tourmaline and is not particularly prized.    I have also found that the availability of pastel yellows is much higher and the rough much cleaner than rich yellows.  By rich saturated color in yellow, I mean a color without a brown or green cast under reasonable “white” lights.

I found the rough for this shield cut on the inter net years before the “canary” discovery/exploitation of smaller yellow tourmaline from East Africa.   I am amazed by both the prices the “canary” tourmaline is getting and that tourmaline, in pure yellow, was not available before the discovery of  the new deposit (according to some members of the trade).   The rough I purchased was completely water worn and highly frosted, but even with that you could see significant internal flaws in the inter net pictures.  The rough was graded semi-facet grade and not highly valued.  I was new to purchasing anything over the inter net so I kept an eye on the offering, but did nothing more.  Frankly, I did not realize how important the rough would turn out to be.  It is hard to judge color from pictures on the inter net and if the yellow was more golden the importance of the rough, for filling the color wheel would be greatly reduced.  The rough did not sell and the larger piece was finally put on sale for half price (.50 cents a carat).  This was too good for a yellow, flawed or not, even if it had shades of green or brown, that I could not see.  I pushed the deal by inquiring whether the smaller piece could also be purchased at the sale price.  When the site got back to me that I could have both pieces on sale, history was made on a very modest scale, but for yellow, it still remains essential for the collection.

The rough was big enough to give me room to maneuver, (the smaller piece turned out to be cleaner) and the major flaws seemed to be controlled by parting like plans.  No original crystal faces could be distinguished.  Also the tourmaline lacked growth tubes and was only mildly dichroic.  After sawing and grinding and sawing and grinding, I ended up with at least 6 reasonable clean gemstones from small to this shield cut, which is a good ring sized stone.  This shield cut is by far the best well saturated, medium tone yellow in the collection.  I actually sold the stone, but got it back, before I realized how rare its color/tone/saturation would be.







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.
This entry was posted in Yellow and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.