Tourmaline With Lepidolite
Tourmaline Queen Mine, Pala, California, USA
Miniature, 4.7 x 4.0 x 2.7 cm
Ex. Harvard Museum
A stunning specimen of intense hot pink color, from very old workings here. Such material as this was once mined in the turn of the 1900s, and shipped off to China for carving into snuff bottles and figurines. Very seldom do we see fine crystals of this ultra-hot-pink color saturation turn up again on the market, and then only out of old collections or museum deaccessions. This is from the old A.C. Burrage collection which was famously given to Harvard after his death in 1931, thus also dating the piece to that early mining era in San Diego. Albert C. Burrage of Boston, Massachusetts, was involved in the modernization of the Chuquicamata mine in Chile, in 1911. Most of his collection remains in Harvard's Museum to this day, save only a few deaccessions over the years. The color here stands above and apart from any other pink tourmaline you may have seen from other mines, and it really just jumps out when lit in a case. This piece is not pristine, but is close to it - a few small bits of edge wear atop are, given the age, permissible I think. The bottom is very nicely polished to a high luster, and the piece was probably displayed with the bottom side up at one time (it would not have bothered many collectors of the past to see a polished top). A true historic piece, but with modern display aesthetics, this is a classic old tourmaline from the San Diego region. The photos shown here are taken with only moderate, not strong, backlighting. Joe Budd photos.