Tourmaline (species: elbaite), Burma
description: 5" ac. Acquired from William Larson of Pala International, Fallbrook, California in 2005. William Larson is the president of this gem house which is one of the largest in the United States controlled by an individual. He is one of America's top mineral collectors and the first gem trader to import Tsavorite (see Gem and Crystal Treasures by Dr Peter Bancroft) and other novel gem materials into the United States. He has traveled to Burma more than any other American dealer to buy gems, crystals and mineral specimens for resale in his business. The piece resembles a "cannon ball" in both size, general esthetics and weight. It is a big impressive piece that stands out as being unique in my suite of colored elbaite since unlike my other specimens of elbaite which all consist of are discreet, euhedral crystals, my pictured piece is in fact a group of elbaite crystals that have grown so close together that the crystals impeded each other's growth so the faces of the individual crystals ceased to be discernible. Burma is the only country to produce crystallized elbaite with this most unusual shape. I have seen hundreds of much much smaller red "mushroom" elbaite specimens from Burma. This piece is reputed as the best of its type in existence (Joseph Freilich, personal communication. Bill Larson does not seem to have one represented in his collection. Maybe he just does not like tourmaline which is "ball shaped." If so, it was good for me since it may have allowed me to snare this wonderful specimen. :))
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