Species: Elbaite Tourmaline
Locality: Rubaya Pegmatite District, Bahunde, Masisi Territory, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dimensions: 3 x 1.0 x 0.9 cm. (5 grams)
Over the past several years, world-class, gem-quality tourmaline crystals have started to emerge in the gem and mineral marketplace from a new source- the Rubaya pegmatite district, located on the northwestern shores of Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These elbaite tourmaline crystals, found in highly-weathered, geochemically-fractionated LCT (Lithium-Cesium-Tantalum) pegmatites where Coltan (columbite-tantalite, a valuable ore of the element tantalum) has been mined artisanally for decades. In terms of quality, transparency and color spectrum, this find is arguable the most important tourmaline discovery of the past thirty years, and some experts place it on par with the greatest tourmaline discoveries of all time. What is certain is that the supply of these gorgeous, gemmy, lustrous, multi-color gem tourmaline crystals will come to a close as quickly as they seemingly appeared on the world market. I was lucky to recently obtain several fine parcels of these beautiful crystals directly from the source, and this is one such example: a completely gem-quality pink to pale blue 3 cm crystal weighing 5 grams. The color is a beautiful pink to pale pinkish-blue, and the complexly-terminated crystal is in great condition and exhibits the high degree of clarity these tourmalines are noted for. The time to add one of these contemporary classics to your collection is now. Mark Cross photo.