A variety of Tourmaline which exhibits breathtaking colours.
Recently I had a meeting with a good friend of mine, Saint-Clair, who owns Tourmaline mines in both Brazil and Mozambique. After we had finished negotiating on a parcel of Paraiba Tourmaline he showed me a few pieces of Tourmaline with some of the purest hues I have ever seen in this highly conveted gem.
There were several different colours, all with an electric, vivid saturation. Two purple pieces, a lavender piece, several green pieces, a blue and yellow piece: all with some of the most outstanding natural colours I had ever witnessed in Tourmalines. What separates Cuprian Tourmaline from others with similar colours is that it is rich in copper (cuprian), which seems to suppress the secondary hues which are normally evident due to the fact that Tourmaline is the most pleochroic of all gemstones.
The difference between Cuprian and Paraiba Tourmaline is that to correctly earn the “Paraiba” prefix, a Tourmaline should not only have the presence of copper, but also a trace of manganese. In addition, the hues and tones of “Paraiba” should fall into a fairly narrow band of light to medium toned green and blue.
This small parcel was mined at Saint-Clair’s mine in Mozambique which hopefully I am soon to visit. Saint-Clair explained that yields so far have been very low, just like the Paraiba that they originally went gem hunting for. Although he is not alone in searching for this gem in Mozambique, none of the artisanal miners have yet to hit pay dirt (a period where the miner starts to reap the rewards of his time, money and effort invested in mining a deposit) either.