Black Button Tourmaline?
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Author:  Peter Torraca [ Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:44 am ]
Post subject:  Black Button Tourmaline?

In a spare couple of minutes the other day I was looking at the "Official State Gemstones" page, linked on the left. As I was born in NY, I knew their state gem is garnet, but the "black button tourmaline" caught my attention.

What the in the world is black button tourmaline? I checked out the NY gov't website, but they only list garnet as the state gem. Doing a google search for "black button tourmaline", I only come up with other state gemstone lists. Finally, I emailed the NY State museum. Check out their reply:

This is new to us also. What reference are you looking at? A guess might be the famous "flat" black uvite tourmalines from Pierrepont, New York.

The museum might be right, but does anyone know for sure? Anyone happen to have a picture of these "famous" black uvite tourmalines? (nothing via google; even the seemingly limitless site doesn't list 'em!)

There is a rock & gem show close this weekend -- maybe a dealer there will have a sample. (BTW -- the show is in Greenfield, IN. I'll mostly be at the faceting demo table with the MWFG. Please, say hello if you're in town!)

Author:  Peter Torraca [ Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:07 pm ]
Post subject: 

I stand corrected, mindat does picture them:

Anyone have further info. on "black button tourmaline"?

Author:  Daniel E Russell [ Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Uvite ("Black Button" Tourmaline)

Yes, the Powers farm Uvites are sometimes called "black button" because of their semblance to old black glass victorian era buttons. The crystals are short and squat rather than long and prismatic. We used to collect (small) pails of them when I was a kid. Useless as a gem material (the crystals are very friable) but otherwise makes a nice specimen for collectors.

Author:  Julie Gowans-Poli [ Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:54 pm ]
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Nothing to add on the info above, but your tag line made me grin. The info that you added on the Gemology Project made me think, so thanks for that as well. :smt038

Author:  Daniel E Russell [ Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:40 am ]
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Ah, the Red Sea is more than a lateral water hazard... it is the home of Agatharchides' "Serpent Isle" - the source of peridot for the ancient world (modern-day Zabargad).

Author:  Julie Gowans-Poli [ Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:28 am ]
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Unfortunately the isle is off-limits these days, from what I have been told here.

I thought it was rather a good indication of how grandiose this country can be when you are playing golf and one of the local rules is "the Red Sea is a lateral water hazard". It's kind of like declaring "the Sahara desert is a sand trap" or "the Pyramids are immovable obstacles",:lol:

If you're not a golfer, just ignore that last bit :wink:

Author:  Barbara O. Ellis [ Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:22 pm ]
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I believe the isle is off-limits these days because it's a military strategic area for Egypt.

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