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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


No description of this
                                          asset is available
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10657-00
Locality Kenya
Weight 20.41 ct

Gift of Mr. William F. Larson in 2010 in memory of Mr. Campbell R. Bridges.

The tourmaline family consists of 14 distinct minerals, but only one, elbaite, accounts for nearly all of the tourmaline gemstones. Tourmaline gems cover the complete range of the color spectrum. Moreover, single crystals of elbaite can show several colors, either along their lengths or from the inside out, making it possible to cut unique multicolored gems. Although best known in shades of green and red, elbaite can also be blue, purple, yellow, brown, or colorless. Varieties of elbaite are sometimes referred to by names such as rubellite (red-pink), indicolite (blue), Paraiba (neon blue to green) and mulit-colored gems such as watermelon (pink rimmed with green). Today Brazil is the largest producer of gem tourmaline; other important sources include the U.S., Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Russia, Malawi, and Nigeria. This 20.42ct tourmaline exhibits a beautiful cinnamon or orange-brown color. Although the exact locality is unknown, it is from East Africa. It was gifted to the National Gem Collection in memory of Campbell Bridges, renowned geologist, discoverer of tsavorite garnet, and champion of the African gem mining industry.


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