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Watermelon Tourmaline
  
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Catahoula




Joined: 13 Mar 2019
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PostPosted: Mar 19, 2019 21:40    Post subject: Watermelon Tourmaline  

My son and I came into a nice pocket of watermelon tourmaline, rubelite and smokey quartz in Riverside County, California two years ago. This is a 2.2lb "spear" of watermelon. There were 5 80+g rubelites and over a pound of assorted other tourmaline. The largest quartz was nearly 14 lbs. This was our very first find and I was fortunate to have Anthony Kampf, Curator Emeritus of the LA County Museum of Natural History (Mineral) look at my cache. He was wonderful and informative. The three gemologists, several experienced tourmaline miners and brokers were not as nice, honest or trusting. In my naivete' I opened up a large window on one side on the recommendation fo a gemologist. A real hack job, but it did allow us to see inside and this has been a joy for my son. Any thoughts on this dark watermelon?


IMG_2091.jpg
 Mineral: 'Tourmaline' (variety watermelon)
 Locality:
Riverside County, California, USA
 Dimensions: 200mm x 50mm
 Description:
 Viewed:  771 Time(s)

IMG_2091.jpg


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Catahoula




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PostPosted: Mar 19, 2019 21:46    Post subject: Re: Watermelon Tourmaline  

close up of window

80g rubelite. Cabbed by Meg Berry. She estimates a beautiful 20-25ct finished faceted piece.

rubelite 20g. Backlit rough



IMG_3241.jpg
 Mineral: 'Tourmaline' (variety watermelon)
 Locality:
California, USA
 Description:
 Viewed:  761 Time(s)

IMG_3241.jpg


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Catahoula




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PostPosted: Mar 19, 2019 21:51    Post subject: Re: Watermelon Tourmaline  

rubelite 80g (image did not upload previously)


IMG_3860.jpg
 Mineral: 'Tourmaline' (variety rubellite)
 Description:
 Viewed:  758 Time(s)

IMG_3860.jpg


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Catahoula




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PostPosted: Mar 19, 2019 21:52    Post subject: Re: Watermelon Tourmaline  

rubelite (image did not upload)


IMG_2090.jpg
 Mineral: 'Tourmaline' (variety rubellite)
 Locality:
California, USA
 Description:
 Viewed:  756 Time(s)

IMG_2090.jpg


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Tobi




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PostPosted: Mar 20, 2019 02:01    Post subject: Re: Watermelon Tourmaline  

Catahoula wrote:
Any thoughts on this dark watermelon?
Yes: Great find! :-)
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John S. White
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PostPosted: Mar 20, 2019 04:47    Post subject: Re: Watermelon Tourmaline  

It is great fun to be able to find and excavate a crystal pocket but I am not sure that I would call your crystals watermelon tourmalines. However if Tony Kampf agrees that they are then perhaps they are. I have attached a photo of a true watermelon tourmaline from Afghanistan which has a pink core and a green rind.


Elbaite - Afghanistan 10-10-17.JPG
 Description:
 Viewed:  628 Time(s)

Elbaite - Afghanistan 10-10-17.JPG



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Kevin Conroy




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PostPosted: Mar 20, 2019 09:54    Post subject: Re: Watermelon Tourmaline  

Please don't cut the well terminated crystals! There were probably some broken pieces found in the pocket, cut those. Finding good crystals is hard, whereas finding cutting rough is a lot easier.
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Catahoula




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PostPosted: Mar 20, 2019 18:32    Post subject: Re: Watermelon Tourmaline  

Thank you for your comments John and Kevin. John, The "spear" is a unique specimen best described as watermelon by the folks who have viewed it. Watermelon tourmalines generally have a radial color change that is seen in each slice and the green "rind" wrapping it. Bi-color tourmalines have the color change transitioning down the length of the stone. This piece has the green crystal rind along the entire length, but the stone is bi-color inside. I had some of the GIA folks review it in Fallbrook and they had not seen a specimen like this before. Due to the dark color, it needs back-light to view the colors, but they are spectacular.

Kevin, yes, the pocket had plenty fo broken stones that I experimented on and enjoyed. Meg Berry is one of the worlds finest tourmaline faceters (formerly working for Bill Larson and now operating her own lapidary). She is the only person who has touched any of the larger stones, although most remain 'rough".
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