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 Post subject: Musing on an amusing conundrum, naming a new gem.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:53 pm 
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This post is a personal trip that I never expected to travel. It started in about 2002 before gem quality tourmaline colored by copper was discovered in Mozambique. The copper bearing tourmaline that I had cut from Mozambique rough and submitted to the GIA was completely new to them. A complete literature search by the GIA did not come up with any information on these unique gemstones. They are unique, not because of location or cuprian nature, but because they display a reverse Alexandrite color change from violet in natural light and to blue in incandescent light. In the two articles published in the GIA's magazine Gems and Gemology, it was stated that the gemstones probably should be considered a new variety of tourmaline.

Confronted with a new variety of tourmaline, I felt it needed a reasonable name. I chose Laurellite in honor of my older daughter Laura, the beautiful flowering scrub mountain laurel and because it sounded pleasant to the ear. I claimed the right to the naming the new variety because I made the effort and had the luck to present to the world a new and exciting gemstone. And nobody cared because Laurellite has no economic significance because it is both very rare and can be heated to paraiba with its neon cyan color. (There are other names.)

So now I have a name for a gemstone with significant scientific importance in the understanding of color change, but no economic importance and therefor few that care about it. So how do I get the name accepted? I am interested in donating some of my specimens to museums to preserve Laurellite rather than having it go the the way of the Dodo bird. But no one seems to want to be first. Oh, they want the gemstone since they still have room for gemstones, but there is no interest in displaying it as a color changer and using Laurellite as its name.

So my conundrum lingers on long after the flavor is gone. You would think that accepting a name that has a reasonable provenance, in exchange for a valuable and rare gemstone, would be very little to ask. Resolution may only come in time.

Bruce


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 Post subject: Re: Musing on an amusing conundrum, naming a new gem.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:55 pm 
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bruce_tourm wrote:
So how do I get the name accepted?

I think the central issue is that a varietal name can't really be 'accepted' if there isn't any supply of it. 'Accepted' typically means that it's being widely used in a variety of contexts. For a material this rare I suspect that just isn't possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Musing on an amusing conundrum, naming a new gem.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:07 pm 
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Stephen Challener wrote:
bruce_tourm wrote:
So how do I get the name accepted?

I think the central issue is that a varietal name can't really be 'accepted' if there isn't any supply of it. 'Accepted' typically means that it's being widely used in a variety of contexts. For a material this rare I suspect that just isn't possible.


Actually I think that if GIA wanted to honor a famous gemologist by naming variety of a stone in his/her honor it would be generally accepted as a variety name.

If there were enough of the material to be commercial for a big name seller, then they would also likely have the muscle to make a name stick. Tiffany was able to do it with Tanzanite, and Tsavorite. Others have seen some success with names like Mahenge Garnet, Malaya Garnet, Mandarin Garnet, and a few others like Zultanite. Still, I tend to look at most of these more as trade names rather than "official" variety names.

In any case, as Bruce has pointed out, it takes muscle at some level to name a gem variety and make it stick.

Now, discover a new mineral, and I think you get to name it.


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 Post subject: Re: Musing on an amusing conundrum, naming a new gem.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:38 pm 
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The name laurelite (one l) has already been recognized by the IMA.

Nothing to do with tourmaline....
It is a lead containing halide
Pb7F12Cl2

Paraiba tourmaline (paraibaite, paraiba-type) is a tradename for a variety of the mineral elbaite (copper bearing) which may include your lauellite.

Without a complete chemical analysis of the material it is impossible to properly classify where it belongs in the Elbaite-Liddicoatite Series and also whether it is truly unique.

Who knows? There may be other examples of your material available in Mozambique which have been chemically analyzed with Laser ablation (LA-ICP-MS) or Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) or X-ray diffraction..

Brendan Laurs and Skip Williams did extensive research on tourm from this area.
Quote:
ABSTRACT:Copper-bearing tourmaline from Mozambique was first recovered in 2001, but its Cu content was not recognized until 2003, and it was not widely sold with its Mozambique origin disclosed until 2005. It has been mined from alluvial deposits in an approximately 3 km2 area near Mavuco in the eastern portion of the Alto Ligonha pegmatite district. Most of the production has come from artisanal mining, with hand tools used to remove up to 5 m of overburden to reach the tourmaline-bearing layer. The stones exhibit a wide range of colors, typically pink to purple, violet to blue, and blue to green or yellowish green. Heat treatment of all but the green to yellowish green stones typically produces Paraíba-like blue-to-green hues by reducing absorption at ∼520 nm caused by the presence of Mn3+. The gemological properties are typical for Cu-bearing tourmaline (including material from Brazil and Nigeria); the most common inclusions consist of partially healed fractures and elongate hollow tubes. With the exception of some green to yellow-green stones, the tourmalines examined have relatively low Cu contents and very low amounts of Fe and Ti. Mechanized mining is expected to increase production from this region in the near future. Artical starts on p.3



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 Post subject: Re: Musing on an amusing conundrum, naming a new gem.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:09 pm 
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We all recognize that Bruce has the finest collection of tourmaline anywhere.
And, reverse color change laurellite has never received its proper accolades.

Bruce have you considered contacting Brendan and Skip to see if they can help out the chemistry?


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 Post subject: Re: Musing on an amusing conundrum, naming a new gem.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:38 am 
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In my opinion there is no need for a new variety name. Sorry...

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