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Tourmaline sales of collector stones

Hello Orchidland,

A gem buddy of mine has an opportunity to purchase a collection of
faceted tourmaline stones. However, he is unsure about the resale
value of the really large stones, ie. 40 cts or so. Apparently these
qualify as collector’s stones as they would be too large for jewelry
use. There are others that are smaller (2 cts to 6 cts), with quality
varying from highly included to clear and bright. I have not seen any
of these stones, so I’m repeating from our conversation.

I’m asking the Orchid community for input regarding interest in
collector’s stones as well as smaller ones. Are people buying?

You are welcome to respond offline and any input will be useful.
Thanks everso, Judy in Kansas, where it has been a lovely day, but
we’d REALLY like some rain. That would be nice.

I would be surprised if art jewelers of any skill level would be
interested in a 40 carat heavily included stone- just because it’s
big ! Second point is the DENSITY of stones vary from mineral to
mineral and tourmalines are fairly light stones, a bit lighter than
quartz, so you get many stones in say buying a parcel of regular and
fancy cuts having a good colour saturation in setting sizes by the
oz., or kilo at a set or agreed upon price per carat But if the
collection contains a few large, included, and almost opaque 40 carat
crystals intended more for specimens or collections it is not a good
deal considering that it sounds like your friend wants to buy to
resell. If the price is really inexpensive and you can select from
different parcels within the collection - great! But if you have to
buy the entire thing then unloading the stones that are too large to
use, that no one will want to display or are otherwise not good for
anything other than lapidary training rough (learning to cut stone
material that cleaves as tourmalines do : trigonal material) then
it’s probably not worth buying.

Consider there are many fee mining operations where people go dig
tourmaline material in, Maine for instance- if the collection is a
bucket of whatever they collected with a few tourmalines the owner
bought and decided not to use, or is giving up a hobby, or its part
of an estate and the price seems high- then don’t go for it. look at
some sites selling similar material both wholesale (presuming you are
a jeweler and have a business) and retail (what your friend finds on
auction sites, or something like JTV or Mindat. org that has similar
if not identical cuts and weights of visually, clean, well saturated
material (that you would want to use for jewelry).and buying the
whole collection means a significant savings that represents a
rational purchase then maybe it’s worth it to your friend in order to
get some vivid indicolite, rubellite, silver- grey, banded colours,
mint green through verdelite or other desirable colours and shades
that are available from tourmaline rough, in stones that are already

Be leary of trendy stones like paraiba tourmalines- unless the
collection came from Brazil (and has a high copper content).- many
stones are sold as something they aren’t. Zircons come in as many
colours as tourmalines, and weigh near the same weight but cleave
differently and I don’t believe they have the same hardness as
tourmaline does (tourmalines are a 7 on the Moh’s scale) Never buy
anything sight unseen though unless there is some written agreement
about a return policy or how dealing with misrepresented material
will be handled- Buyer’s remorse though isn’t what I’m implying in
suggesting a clear cut return policy. if your friend, with due
diligence gets all the info and photos of the collection but after
spending the money decides he wants something else- I, as a seller
would question the ethics of that return request!). So know what you
are potentially buying, get clear contact and check it,
before sending money or providing credit card or other personal info
to a stranger- anyone can accept credit card sales now so it makes
tracking down a dishonest salesperson even harder and the money spent
may prove not profitable (i believe you said he’s considering it for
a resale venture)… Everyone has an opinion i guess, I hope these are
points you hadn’t considered that will help make a good decision

Hello Orchidland,

Just thanking John and R. E. for their comments and input. Orchid
does Rock!!

Judy in Kansas