Gem Blast: Blue and Green Tourmaline

I was asked a while back if I had any indicolite in a specific shape and size. The specification of “indicolite” gave me pause, because what is an indicolite anyway?

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Well, it turns out that indicolite just used as a term for the blue varieties of tourmaline, and is also known by the term “indigolite”. I am not a chemist, gemologist or a physicist, as I have reiterated before, so I had never given it any real meaningful thought.

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Tourmaline is mostly classified by color, and color is usually an indication of mineral presence. Indicolite is usually but it’s complicated by the fact that paraiba and cuprian tourmalines are colored by copper, while other darker blue tourmalines are colored by iron.

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So it seems as though classification of a tourmaline is more of a continuum rather than a linear grouping.

tourmaline emerald

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I typically don’t really delve too far into these things because I look at the stone as a piece of art and a medium I have to work with rather than it’s chemical composition. When I do get questions like this, I ask people who are more knowledgeable than I am (a huge thanks to all of you who do their best to explain these things to me!) so I can answer to the best of my ability, or just point them to somewhere else that might have the answers they are looking for.

Now, ask about color, shape and proportion, and then you’ll get a long monologue!

Gem Blast: Emeralds

Emeralds are considered one of the four “precious gemstones” along with ruby, diamond and sapphire (blue, specifically, since, you know, red and pinkish sapphire is typically considered ruby. But whatever.) So that means that they are highly prized, highly synthesized and highly treated.

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But it’s the birthstone for May so I’ll do a post on it, especially because I am lucky enough to have had two fantastic specimens in my hot little hands for the moment and of course have photographed the heck out of both.

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I have a special place in my heart for green. It was my favorite color from roughly age fourteen until about seventeen. And no other gem does green quite the way emerald does. Here is an gorgeous Afghan tourmaline to illustrate this point:

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And a green beryl/Aquamarine:

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One of the things that makes emerald so special is the glow that seems to light it up from the inside, almost like a green light on a stop light. Fittingly part of what gives it this look is “jardin” the name for the inclusions within emerald, French for “garden”. The only time emerald really seems to “sparkle” is when it’s incredibly clean and without jardin, but this variety of emerald has an entirely different look and feel to it, more like a bright green aquamarine than the soft, but intense glow of a stone with jardin.

Close up with the smaller of the two. Both are Colombian in origin.

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This particular emerald doesn’t have a ton of inclusions, making it pretty rare for an emerald. Just enough jardin to give it that glow factor, which is so highly sought after in these green beauties.

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The larger of these two beauties is for sale, and I keep restraining myself from thinking about setting ideas for it.

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But I still have the little one to play with. I was thinking something Art Deco would be awesome…and emeralds always look amazing with diamonds!

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Maybe I need to hit up the sketchbook…