Purple Cuprian; A dilemma:
By Richard W. Wise, G.G.
“I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?”
As tourmaline aficianados know, there are few truly rare colors of tourmaline. A pure yellow without a stong green secondary hue is quite rare and I have never seen a true violet but until recently, purple was the one spectral color that absolutely did not exist in tourmaline. Yes we had purplish reds but until last year when the Alta Lighona tourmalines from
In early 1989 when the first curpian tourmalines from
Since that time I have seen many examples of blue tourmaline including the famous Manoel Mutuca (described by Proctor as “sapphire blue” see Gems & Gemology, Spring 1985, p.11)) and Santa Rosa material but none (at least so far) with a true pure blue hue. Blue tourmaline always has a distinct greenish secondary hue which becomes quite evident when it is compared stone to stone with fine sapphire. Blue tourmaline can be exceptionally beautiful but it looks like tourmaline not sapphire.
To burn or not to burn or "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?”
With the entry of
Some dealers have chosen the obvious solution. If you want a pure purple but burnable stone they will charge the same price as for the neon blue.(pictured above: unheated cuprian rough from Mozambique). Pictured below is an exceptional 1.89 carat custom cut Carribean blue cuprian stone cut from the center piece of rough. After and before; the first image shows the cut stone before heating. The second image shows the stone after the heating process was completed. The stone, currently available for sale at www.rwwise.com was cut by Gene Flanigan a very talented lapidary artist from upstate New York. (Images courtesy Gene Flanigan: www.precisiongem.com)
Will purple tourmaline go the way of fine star sapphires that hardly exist anymore because they can be burned and faceted? I don't think so, some of the fine purples simply possess problematic inclusions that make them risky candidates for burning. I found an 8.19 carat oval, a lovely example of
I get lots of emails. Don't think I'm not grateful. Every once in a while a real interesting one comes through the mailbox. take this on:
I am not familiar with Stargate but believe the lady is serious. She even called and left a message on my machine. So if you are a gemologist in search of adventure give Lucilla a jingle. This time next month you could looking at sparklies and sipping pina colodas in beautiful downtown Bengui. As for myself I'd love to go along but I can't give up my day job but when you get there be sure to drop me a line and oh do be sure to take along a flack jacket.
New Site with excellent online library of inclusions:
Got an email from a French gemologist: Marie-France Boursier-Brard. Ms Boursier-Brard has developed an excellent site with online images of inclusions. The site is quite comprehensive and well organized. Just click on: www.gemmes-inclusions.com
Check out my book Secrets of The Gem Trade; The Connoisseurs guide To Precious Gemstones: www.secretsofthegemtrade.com.
Now at 30% off just $27.95
"This book takes a much-needed sledgehammer to the industry's conventional wisdom about what makes a gemstone precious, and in the process builds a solid foundation for anyone who wants to understand the true beauty and value of gemstones."
Editor-in-Chief Colored Stone Magazine