Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mozambique Cuprian Tourmaline: Part II; Beyond the hype

Dateline: Hong Kong

Arrived in Hong Kong Monday night locked, loaded and ready to expose this Mozambique Cuprian tourmaline for the over-hyped fraud I thought it was and got a surprise. Quick answer to the burning question of the day; yes, there are some Mozambique stones that will stand up to the finest from Brazil.

Recently I have seen quite a bit of the stuff and found some of the asking prices bordered on the ridiculous. Examined one 7+ carat green tourmaline that looked like, well a medium dark yellowish green tourmaline, nothing special but the price. If it had been offered to me for $100 per carat I would have sent it back but it was Cuprian so the wholesale asking price was $3,500 per carat. (see part I, super star stone or overripe hype)

A lot of the Mozambique material out there simply does not make the grade. Yes you can find Caribbean aka neon-blue, aka windex-blue that is, a visually pure light/medium toned blue that is of the same hue as Paraiba but read the book; color divides into hue, saturation and tone with Paraiba and all its wannabes it is all about the saturation baby. Much of this material has a subtle gray mask, so subtle that you can’t actually see the gray; you just get the impression of cool and dull. This can be difficult to detect because blue is, generally speaking, a cool color. For collectors who depend upon laboratory reports rather than their eye to make a buying decision that can be particularly vexing but “buying the cert” has always been a snare and a delusion. So, if you need a certificate to tell you whether the stone is beautiful I suggest a new hobby.

How good is the best Mozambique compared to the Paraiba paradigm? On a scale of 1-10, the best of the Mozambique achieves a solid 8.5-9.0. I saw two stones that were 9+. So, is Mozambique over priced? The best, definately not but the common sort of pale material with current asking prices of several thousand dollars a carat is best avoided. Those who hope to ride on the coattails of a legend will be disapointed. Stones of this description are destined to fall from four figures to three.

Judging by Hong Kong, the price structure for very fine Mozambique Cuprian tourmaline is very much in place with little variation from dealer to dealer but overall the prices are half or less than you would expect to pay for comparable Brazilian gems.

Coming Up:

Big Price Increases in Fine quality untreated ruby and sapphire, are they for real?

Some experts are claiming 100% price increases in untreated fine quality ruby and sapphire. What’s the word from the Hong Kong Show? Stay tuned.

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