Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stones on Fire

We love the vibrant and varied hues found in the tourmaline family of mineral gems. It doesn't hurt that this species also produces lively clean stones adored for their transparency.

SOURCING TOURMALINE
Every once in a while, miners stumble upon yet another variety like this head turning orange tourmaline. Brazil and Africa produce the largest amount of gemmy tourmaline goods, but the species is found in the US and even Afghanistan in lesser quantities.

HOT TAMALES!
As you can guess, chemical additions like magnesium or copper in the complex silicate composition affect color. We're thinking magnesium may be the contributor to this sizzling hot orange tint as magnesium is known to lend yellow and brown to several other tourmaline varieties.

Master cutter John Dyer found this splendid specimen of cognac/orange tourmaline from Kenya and thought it would be an awesome choice for his Regal Radiant cut.

HARD TO FIND IN ANY SIZES
According to Dyer, this material is quite rare, and is very hard to find in large carat sizes. 'The largest I have currently is just over 4 cts." Dyer researched this particular variety and found that it appears in nearby (to Kenya) Tanzania. Most of it is hard mined resulting in broken crystals. But Dyer likes this appealing stone so much he keeps an eye open for top quality rough. "There are also some alluvial deposits but since the origin is probably the same, the material is very similar except for being water worn rough. A friend of mine who is from East Africa tells me that he has never seen a 15ct plus size that is clean and attractive in spite of being years in the business."

Lovers of tourmaline can look forward to adding brilliant varieties like this fiery hued stone to their collection. Who knows what other colors the earth will yield?

Baby Dyer 2.14 carat Orange Tourmaline cut in Regal Radiant design. Photo Courtesy: John Dyer

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