Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Watermelon Tourmaline

 I fell in love with tourmaline the first time I saw it. I saw gemmy tourmaline at shows and sales and marveled at the colors and the way it handled light. I bought the Watermelon Tourmaline above from another collector. The face is only three-quarters of an inch across, but if you're looking at it on a computer screen and it looks huge, well, that's the way I see it.

I love watching the light shine through the deep rose red and green. I'll never cab this piece, in part, because I'd hate to lose it as a specimen, and in part because when I look at it closely, I see lines that make me think it's been fractured before and might not hold together on a grinder.

 But before I got my hands on that gemmy specimen, I had purchased a bargain selection of crystals at a rock show. As you can tell from the picture of the size of the crystals I bought, money was no object when making this purchase. 😁


 This pink specimen is in my case. It's not very gemmy, but when I hold it I can clearly see the crystal structure in the white matrix and that's why I had to bring it home with me.

 Then . . .


Then I went to Quartzsite and Tucson this year. It was unbelievable!!! I saw some tourmalines
in matrix that wasn't gemmy at all, but had personalities that tickled my cabbing bone. This rock and the next are fairly friable, which added challenges to the cabbing process.

In this specimen, you can clearly see the dark rose tourmaline--and see that it isn't sparkling. The matrix in this case is white and clear quartz, but again, not a terribly high-quality quartz. I cut some slabs and worked on a cabochon to see what would happen,

I was delighted that this material cabbed without any stabilizing support. However, since it was somewhat smooshed (a technical term (?) for crushed over and over until it was a conglomerate), there were no clearly defined edges.

The finished cab took a nice polish and I love the way it looks. It's sweet and romantic and reminds me of violets.


I purchased this conglomerate rock, because it had black tourmaline, quartz, and mica on a rhodo matrix. This picture shows the colors as pretty muddy. It also tells the story of the fractured character of the specimen. A quick run through a saw, told me how friable it was.

I took it as a personal challenge!

 DA-DIDDA-DA!!! I took some slices and treated them with Opticon. Then they held up to my Genie and I was able to work them into cabochons.

The pink rhodo looks a whole lot better after it's been polished than it did in the original rock. In this image you can also see the clear quartz and smooshed black tourmalite.


 In my last post, I offered this slab of millefioria-style glass to the person who sent me the best name for it. The responses were wonderful!  Two of my favorites were "Montana Wildfires" and "Swept Up to Heaven".

The winner was the  one who made me laugh. Vic McPherson named it "Oozite" because of the way the columns seem to be trying to ooze out of the slab. Vic, it's on its way to you!

I hope you enjoyed my post. I love reading your comments!

Until next time, I'm your Lapidary Whisperer,

Donna Albrecht

1 comment:

  1. Winning is fun. Thank you for making my day.