1972 Blue-Cap Tourmaline!
Queen Mine, Pala, San Diego County, California, USA
Cabinet, 10.2 x 5.3 x 4.3 cm
Ex. Chuck Houser; Gerry Clark; Jesse Fisher and Joan Kureczka
This is the almost unattainable Holy Grail of tourmaline collectors, to own one of the famous 1972 San Diego bluecaps - and not just any bluecap; but an unrepaired specimen with the best luster and glassy top. Only a few dozen of this caliber were mined by Bill Larson and Ed Swoboda with their team of helpers, that winter. Most are singles, with no accenting matrix. Of the larger pieces, most are now housed in institutions. What comes to market today are few and far between, seldom any of consequence. This is the best one I have had to offer since 1998, when the Barlow collection was dispersed. It is an intensely colored crystal with the best color atop, a thick band of riveting blue. More importantly, it is from the core pocket, with the lustrous terminations, as opposed to the several dozen further pieces recovered in nearby pockets (which had less luster and less intense color). This specimen is accented nicely by a bit of lavender lepidolite encrusting over the top, and by a swirl of white Albite at the base. Despite its thickness, it has intense color (as you can plainly see...the pics are NOT taken with backlighting except for the bottom photo). The reason for this unusual intensity in such a fat crystal is that the piece tapers towards the base, from the more equant termination, thus allowing more light to come through. Else, it would be as opaque as these generally are, except at the tips.