NIGERIA DISCOVERS RARE PINK-TO-RED TOURMALINE GEMTONES

courtesy of Israeli Diamond Industry Portal

Western Nigeria, which constituted an important source for the high-quality gemstone tourmaline and pink stones in the late 1990’s, has recently discovered a significant deposit of pink-to-red tourmaline. Brenda M. Laurs of the GIA reports that the rare gemstone, found in the Oyo Valley of western Nigeria, is notable for its high transparency and bright coloration. The find dug up about 20 kgs of the gem, with the largest piece weighing 7 kg and containing a wealth of gem-quality transparent areas. This piece was so large (up to 28 cm in diameter and nearly 13 cm thick) that it required a large tile saw to make the initial cuts. Since the find, approximately one thousand stones have been polished, weighing nearly 7,000 carats and resulting in an overall yield of approximately 15%. The colors of the gemstones fell into three main groups with 50% slightly purplish red, 10% a darker red and 40% categorized ‘bubble gum pink.’ The largest precious gemstone weighed 53.45 cts with several more in the 20-40 carat range. By: Jody Clements


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