Masisi Mine District, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dimensions (H x W x D)

5.2 x 2.2 x 1.8 cm


40.8 g

Description & Provenance

Tourmaline was first traded en masse by the Dutch East India Company in the form of water-eroded pebbles found in Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) and was mistakenly believed to be a combination of other stones. They believed that, for example, green tourmalines were emeralds, pink and red tourmalines were rubies, and that multicolored examples were a combination of two or more different species composited together. In fact, tourmaline is so colorful, no one believed that one mineral could be credited with such diversity. It wasn’t until nearly three centuries years later (in the 1800s) that scientists ascertained that it was an entirely unique mineral species capable of exhibiting several colors on a single crystal. While multicolored tourmaline was always desired, it became somewhat of a sensation once it was determined to be a mineral in its own right, gaining even further admiration from gem lovers worldwide. Tiffany gemologist, George F. Kunz praised the outcrops of Maine and California and tried to market tourmaline as an American gemstone. Subsequently, the pink tourmaline of California became a matchless favorite of the Empress Dowager Cixi (Tz’u His) of China, whose taste, power, and influence were renowned. Her love of the material fueled mining efforts and drove sales and imaginations well outside of her own reign.

This is a breathtaking example of tourmaline that beautifully illustrates the species’ propensity for color and gem-caliber aesthetics. It exhibits a spectacular display of saturated coloring—a deep rose at its lower half, a thin band of pastel yellow at its center, and a vibrant, Kelly green at the top. Transparent and colorful, the specimen takes light beautifully, making it instantly attractive to the eye. Upon closer inspection, one will be further impressed by its sharp crystallization, slightly peaked termination, subtle vertical faces, and overall gem-quality. With its spectacular expression of color, this specimen is a lovely example of why tourmaline has risen to among one of the most desired species in the collecting world.



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