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 Post subject: Pink tourmaline?
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 4:43 am 
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What is that? I know it's a pink variety of tourmaline (go figure...), but some claim it's just a marketing name for lower quality rubelite, whether pink, orange or anything "reddish". Is that true, or there's actually some chemical diference between those varieties and rubelite?


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 Post subject: Re: Pink tourmaline?
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 6:15 am 
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Should there be a consistent chemical signature for a distinct color to be relevant?

So far, 'pink tourmaline' was just that - some sort of pink colored tourmaline - with the exact hue and saturation anywhere the owner might want to believe it goes.

Now another question: does Rubellite have to have some sort of unique composition to be called so? With that mile long chemical formula for tourmaline types... hard to believe red comes from just one consistent composition :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 9:55 am 
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Hi,

According to Dietrich you can refer to red (including pink) tourmaline as "rubellite" no matter the species.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 10:45 am 
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Yep. All pink Tourmaline is Rubellite, but commercially speaking the redder the better & many dealers actually seperate the two in two catogories for sale; Pink Tormaline & Rubellite. Rubellite generally sales at a 50% to 100% more per carat price when compared to Pink Tourmaline depending on quality.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:40 am 
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Hi,

In the world of faceting rough, there is a HUGE difference between rubellite and pink, sometime 10x difference.

Rubellite means 'ruby like'. Real rubellite is about as red as red spinel or ruby and some (rare) garnet.

Often there is a purplish hue, but that is not as desired as just red. Nor does it cost as much. It seems that having some purple in it, hence darkening the saturation, is kind of where rough sellers differentiate rubellite from pink, except, of course, for real red rough.

Pink tourmaline is just that, pink. One would rarely ever confuse it with red. Sort of like pink sapphire and ruby.

If all pink tourmaline is rubellite, than all pink sapphire is ruby!

Red spinel says that "many dealers actually separate the two categories for sale " (pink versus rubellite) . If you know a rough dealer who doesn't, please let us all know. That dealer will become very popular very quickly!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:42 am 
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Hi,

Just a small addition to my previous post. Sam's Club sells pink tourmaline jewelry as pink tourmaline. They sell rubellite jewelry as well, they put it in with the ruby jewelry at a price about half way between the pink tourmaline and the ruby.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:21 am 
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All,
The GIA has no undercover cops to enforce its "rules" so I know this probably won't affect the debate much. But here's what my GIA tourmaline course material said (with some elisions):

"Since they serve no useful purpose and complicate the picture unecessarily, for a number of years the GIA has recommended that all specific [tourmaline] variety names be abandoned. Almost all of these useless and confusing names [i.e., dravite, achroite, rubellite, etc.] are gradually being dropped. Because tourmaline as a gem is so little known to the lay public...such obscure variety names tend to mislead and rob the species of needed recognition.

"The most valuable variety is red to purplish red to violetish red. Pale-pink to dark-red stones are available and in some demand; these are the colors that were once called rubellite...The red variety is best termed red tourmaline. Although rubellite was the best known of the variety names, it adds nothing and has the drawback of creating the impression that it is some kind of ruby imitation. In this age of substitutes, such a term is sure to belittle a natural stone. Red tourmaline is a much more satisfactory name. Usually it more closely resembles rhodolite garnet than ruby..."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:39 am 
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ROM,

Interesting. Not very long ago the GIA used rubellite as an example of a Type III stone -- now they say it doesn't exist? Great way to simplify and not confuse anyone!

I guess that we should expect to see blue, red and lotus-flower corundum next? Sapphire and ruby are so passe!

Perhaps the GIA should not go for change for the sake of change?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:18 pm 
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As I said, Bob, it won't affect the debate much. And no one ever accused the GIA of being consistent!

But let's face it: gem names are a mess. They're a confusing blend of archaisms with mineralogical taxonomy and made-up trade names.

Frankly, whatever GIA does in practice, I think my tourmaline lesson outlined a useful approach. We already do see corundum mostly defined by color, i.e., "blue sapphire," "pink sapphire," etc. despite the problem with pads, ruby/pink sapphire and that pesky problem of origins that says one source of "blue" or "red"is better than another even if the colors are the same.

But I know enough of human nature and the commercial desire to "romance the stone" to not expect any common agreement in my lifetime, if ever.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:09 pm 
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So how did they describe the Paraiba?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:33 pm 
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Good question -- the lesson in question predates its discovery.

CIBJOs recent decision to call all occurrences of those colors of tourmaline "Paraiba" just compounds the linguistic confusion IMO. Now we have an origin name thrown into the color confusion. But of course there's precedent for that, i.e., "Siberian" amethyst, etc.

Round and round she goes...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:43 pm 
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I think it's not an easy think to nail down. You can have pink tourmaline, and then you can have the pink copper bearing tourmaline from Mozambique, which from the looks of it, has a color unto itself (but probably can't really be called Paraiba, even though they contain copper, or can they?).

You probably can't call Paraiba (and type) "Neon Blue-Green Tourmaline", because some of the stuff coming out of Afghanistan would probably qualify for that label as well, even though it doesn't contain copper.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:24 pm 
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It's not easy. Those questions drove me to this stuff long ago! :smt067

I've reached the point where I wonder if it's safe to call any gem anything before sending it out and paying several hundred dollars to have it EDXRF'd , libs'd, juried, debated and named on a piece of paper...until something new comes along to upset those decisions.

I'm old-fashioned and still stuck on fairly simple questions like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:15 am 
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Quote:
"Since they serve no useful purpose and complicate the picture unecessarily, for a number of years the GIA has recommended that all specific [tourmaline] variety names be abandoned. Almost all of these useless and confusing names [i.e., dravite, achroite, rubellite, etc.] are gradually being dropped. Because tourmaline as a gem is so little known to the lay public...such obscure variety names tend to mislead and rob the species of needed recognition.

"The most valuable variety is red to purplish red to violetish red. Pale-pink to dark-red stones are available and in some demand; these are the colors that were once called rubellite...The red variety is best termed red tourmaline. Although rubellite was the best known of the variety names, it adds nothing and has the drawback of creating the impression that it is some kind of ruby imitation. In this age of substitutes, such a term is sure to belittle a natural stone. Red tourmaline is a much more satisfactory name. Usually it more closely resembles rhodolite garnet than ruby..."


ROM and all,

It's funny when I see quotes from older GIA course work in contrast to the current versions.
I think at one time GIA was a big fish in a little pond and now they are a big fish in a big pond. Consequently, I think their writing/teaching philosophies has softened. Less authoritative and more sensitive in acknowledging general market practices and terminology.

So now, instead of saying, "This is the way it should be" the coursework reflects more of an attitude of, "In many parts of the world and for many dealers, ruby and rubelite includes the entire range of hue from pink to red."

Now, even though that's not their exact wording, I think it's more in line with a less authoritative approach on how they handle trade controversy.

In practice, I'm sure they use HTS levels as the distinctive division between pink and red gems.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:27 pm 
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Rubellite is a trade name like Indicolites or Imperial Topaz.

Pink Tourmaline is never called Rubellite in the trade. There is also Tourmaline Rosa. That is neither Pink nor Rubellite. It is a rose / wine colored Tourmaline.

Now, at some point Pink and Rubellite can come together. At that point half may refer to the same stone as a "Hot" Pink and the other half as a Rubellite. Neither will be wrong as Rubellite cannot be papered. Not by GIA or anyone else. The XXXXX mine in Brazil produced such stones. I came across a 20 year old stone recently from that mine. When I find a pic I'll put it up. This material was either Rubellite or Hot Hot Pink depending who you showed it to. In a very real sense it was neither. This material came from the Cruzeiro mine in Brazil.

Most of the red African stuff it is poorly saturated. Once you see that brown it is NOT considered Rubellite. Not by anyone I know. In other words when you see a Rubellite you don't ask if it's Brazilian or African.

As for Red Tourmaline I have never seen a specimen that does not exhibit pleochroism. The finest pure red gemmy stones I've ever had still drew magenta in natural light. Even when they were fire engine red under incandescent. I have never beheld a Rubellite that displayed just red under all lighting conditions. They all show dichroism.

In fact there are those dealers who prize the vivid saturated magenta stones that resist exhibiting red under incandescent more than redder stones.

I have a trillion right now that turns red under incandescent and has a definite red strength under natural light. I also have a vivid red / magenta stone under all lighting. I bought the trillion from a Brazilian dealer in NY and he rated my magenta over his red. The only thing I can say about that is that my stone was more saturated.

Now, for those who maintain that Imperial as a term to describe Topaz is confusing (I do not) must also, it seems to me, believe that Rubellite and Indicolites are also confusing and arbitrary terms. Ask a Brazilian for a Rubellite and see what he brings. It won't be Pink, Bubblegum or Rosa Tourmaline.

Here's a good question I think. When is an Indicolite not an Indicolite and "merely" an Indicolitish Tourmaline?

scl


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