Discovery of vivid blue, green, and purple-to-violet tourmalines, a.k.a., “Paraíba” in Batalha, Brazil in 1982 changed the way the gem market perceived tourmalines. The unquestionably vivid colors were due to copper and this color agent was not documented in tourmaline ever before. Fast forward two decades, the Paraíba tourmalines are still selling and at thousands of dollars per carat. In 2001, we witnessed another discovery of an almost identical material but in Mozambique, Africa. The debate over naming this exciting gem has yet to come to an end.
Photo Caption: Cuprian tourmaline and diamond rings. Photography by Mark Davis. Courtesy of Philip Zahm Designs.
Mozambique cuprian tourmaline is mined in much larger amounts compared to Paraíba and the price points are distinctly lower. However, since the two materials overlap mineralogically, origin determination has always been a challenge. Gemworld International disagrees that Mozambique cuprian tourmaline should be called Paraíba. The reason is simple. Calling an extra fine Mozambique ruby as Burma due to its extra fine quality would be the same mistake. Also, the price points of cuprian tourmalines are clearly lower than Paraíba, so why confuse the consumer?
Cuprian tourmaline was a strong seller during Tucson 2017. It was well-presented especially at the GJX Show in in the ICA and Idar Oberstein pavilions. It seems that because the Chinese market is no longer supporting high prices that pushed the material, prices are going down. Cuprian variety prices, like other tourmalines, increased…