|Recently, Vietnam has become an intersting and promising source of wonderful mineral specimen. In 2004 a pocket with pastell colored Tourmalines was hit in Luc Yen. The Tourmalines turned out to be Liddicoatit, and sometimes there is a core of Elbait. The specimen occur embedded in lithium mica (Lepidolit). Unfortunately, most touralines were removed from the matrix. The piece on the left was also violently broken off from the matrix. A lucky coincidence preserved the the matrix part with its large books of Lepidolith. The 2 halves finally found their way back together and were restored by Dana Gochenour. The Tourmaline alone was about 2 pounds. The inner part is Elbait, the outer part Liddicoatit.|
|The picture on the right is from the same localityin VIetnam, just a year later: in 2005 a pocket with large, red Liddicoatits was hit in Luc Yen. The wonderful pieces were displayed for example at the mineral show in Munich in 2006. This piece was preserved in the matrix. Most intereting, when turned around one sees that very often there is Amazonite associated in the matrix, which can be of finest cutting quality in Luc Yen.|
from Aracuai (Brasil)
A multicolor Elbait starting from brwon-yellow, going into green with a wine red termination.
8 cm hight
from Minas Gerais (Brasil)
This about 6 cm high Elbait tourmaline has an unusual combination of pink and violett hues (which are very difficult to capture in the photograph).
A doubly terminated Elbait of ~4.5 inches size with beautifull pastell colors.
|Elbait in Clevelandit|
Stak Nala, Paklistan
Here is a tourmaline from Stak Nala in Pakistan, which is well known for its multicolored Elbait. The piece on the left is ~ 3 cm long and is surounde by white leafes of Clevelandite.
An impressive crystal of Schorl (~ 2 pounds heavy), which has a fibrous termination. I was told that often in such fibrous terminations Schorl changes into Foitit, another variety of tourmaline.
Blue Cap Elbait
This is one of our favourite Tourmalines: It comes from the Pamir Mountains and has an intense blue cap, which is crossed by several smaller pink tourmalines. There are also green and white tones present in this exceptionally colored crystal.
A 2 cm dark-wine red Uvite, which came out some years ago.
An unusually large crystal (~ 3cm) of a brownish-green Uvite with Magnesite. Intersetingly, there are also some red hues present in this fine crystal.
from the Pederneira Mine, Brazil.|
This Indicolith has an electrifying blue colour, which is usually caused by iron ions. It is associated with Lepidolith, the lithium variant of mica, which is frequently found in lithium pegmatites. By its chemical nomenclature, this tourmaline is an Elbait, the lithium variant of tourmaline. According to another nomenclature, which names tourmalines after their colour, it is called Indicolithe.
The specimen in this picuter is only little larger than 1 cm. The picture was taken with a Canon macro lense under complex light conditions. You can open a much larger picture by double-clicking this one.
the Himalaya Mine|
San Diego County, Southern California
The Himalaya Mine has been producing gem tourmalines since the late 19th century and is famous for multi-coloured specimen. This one is a specimen with interesting color zoning, which may tell us something about its history: It appears that the crystal started growing as a green tourmaline, which start growing at higher temperatures than tourmalines with other colors. Then, because of the rapid change in color, I think it might have been broken off and continued growing as red tourmaline. The multiple termination is called a city scape termination.
Melone Tourmaline |
from unknown location.
Tourmalines with a red core and a a thin white and a green rim are called water melones - their cross section just looks like the fruit.
Tourmaline var. Elbaite
from the Sappo Mine Minas Gerais, Brazil.
The Sappo Mine is famous for its multi-colored tourmalines. Almost all coloures of the rainbow are found: from red-pink over yellowish to geen with a blue cap. Wish it would be larger than 1 cm!!!
Schorl is a black tourmaline colored by iron. It is relatively common and can be found in many pegmetites. Nevertheless, it can form really fascinating crystals and very interesting combos with other minerals, such as the two pieces depicted here.
This is a Schorl with Aquamarine (Beryll) with textbook terminations.
|Schorl with Fluorite in fine-bladed Clevelandite, a very esthetic specimen in our opinon.|
from Brumado, Brazil. |
This is a magnesium rich tourmaline. Interstingly, while most tourmalines show a pronounced elongated crystal growth (the long axis is called c-axis), Uvite is found in crystal shapes that appear "compressed" along c.
Nigeria is a producer of very fine tourmalines, paricularly form the Jos-plateau. This crystal is also quite intersting. Is is kind of a smokey red color, with a thin green cap. Its surface is frosted on some faces, but the core is flawless.
Tourmline (var. Elbait) on Lepidolith matrix from the Cryo Genie Mine Warner Springs, San Diego County California.
This is a nice tourmaline specimen on matrix. The entire specimen is a swimmer - it is crystallized all around. Take a closer look at the central crystal: at the bottom it fray´s out into several smaller crystalls. At the top the color changes into green, and the top forms kind of a szepter. The Cryo Genie has produced phantastic specimen of tourmaline, morganites, and other pegmatite minerals in the past few years. What only few know - Warner Springs was probably the first tourmaline occurence discovered during prospecting when rail-roads were first built to the west.
Tourmalines from Vietnam:
Most people think of Burma, when they think of tourmalines from Eastern Asia. However, during the past few years Vietnam has produced spectracular tourmalines, which display a variety of colors. The first pockets were of pink and yellow-greenish color and exhibited almost mushroom like shapes. Most are accompanied by Lepidolithe and other Micas, which where however removed during mining in most cases. Only very few matrix pieces could be recovered.
|Later dark green tourmalines with extremely shiny faces were found. Finally, in 2005 a pocket of red Liddicoatite was found. These tourmalines are of extremly fine red color and are considered to be among the best of the world.|
Tourmalines from classic California locations.|
Tourmaline Queen, Pala.
The Tourmaline Queen is famous for its Blue Caps, some of the finest of which were found by Bill Larson and colleagues in the 1970s.
The Himalaya Mine, which was also mined by Bill Larson, produced tourmalines for well over 100 years. Himalaya tourmalines come in pink, green, and some contain actually the rainbow (Rainbow pocket)
The Stewart Mine, actually very close to the Tourmaline Queen in Pala, is most famous for pink tourmaline sprays frozen in lilac Lepidolithe, and for a unique hot-pink.
Bent pink tourmaline from Pabrol, Afghanistan. A very interesting doubly terminated piece: first, it has a clear cap on the otherwise gemmy pink crystal, second, the smaller attachted crystal is heavily bent. How can this happen? Well, the crystals as we know them are solid - but they are not when they are formed under great heat and pressure. Under these conditions a crystal can be bend, e.g. by geological events. Often this leads to fractured in the crystal which can be filled with tourmaline or other minerals, such as feldspar, again. This in turn leads to striations, which are often seen for example in Himalaya specimen as white "bands" in the crystal.
A deep red tourmaline, either Elbait or Liddicoatit
(~ 1 cm).
Tourmaline ( ~10 cm in diameter) with a Pink and
Green Top from
Teofilo Otoni, Brazil|
The carefull visitor of our page will notice that we have not called this black tourmaline a Schörl. Well, that is because black is not always black. The coloured termination is indicative of an Elbaite variety. However, very often the colours become very intense and cannot be penetrated by light. Then, even a coloured tourmaline appears black. Such dark specimen are always a challenge for the photographer!
| "Mushroom" Tourmaline |
from Mogok, Burma
It is quite obvious why these are called mushroom tourmalines. This here is a small example of a relatively translucent specimen. Most often these specimen have a dark (black) core, eventually Schörl, and a colored Elbaite coating.
|tricolored Tourmaline |
from Pabrok, Afghanistan.
Very nice green-2-blue-2-clear specimen, doubly terminated, about 6 cm tall.
from unknown location.
Colour changes in tourmalines are caused by a change in the chemistry of growth solution. This one had quite a number of changes in solution chemistry!