Tourmaline Var. Liddicoatite
Camp Robin, Fianarantsoa, Madagascar
Cabinet, 15.8 x 5.6 x 4.8 cm
Ex. Dr. Federico Pezzotta

This piece was found in 2001 and long remained in the personal collection of Madagascan government's geological exploration consultant and collector, Dr. Federico Pezzotta, who is also curator of the Museum of Natural History of Milan. Liddicoatite was approved as a new species by the International Mineralogical Association in 1976. The name was recently changed to fluor-liddicoatite. It is one of the species in the tourmaline group and was named for Richard T. Liddicoat (1918-2002), a gemologist and former president of the Gemological Institute of America. Liddicoatite is one of the few sliced and polished species found in serious mineral collections. Fluor-liddicoatite occurs in pegmatites, primarily from Madagascar. It exhibits vitreous luster and is found in various hues, from light brown, to pink, red, blue and colorless, sometimes all in one crystal with a bewilderingly quick (chemical-induced) change from slice to slice, as shown here. It forms a series with the most common gem tourmaline species, elbaite. This particular crystal has been sliced into 30 pieces with each one exhibiting color and internal pattern changes from the previous slice, and making for a fascinating set overall. It is very difficult to get such well-sliced, whole tourmaline crystals like this. The slices are gemmy and the whole crystal exhibits good luster. Fascinating! This specimen exhibits a red outside color and pairs well with the green outside coloring of specimen DEN13-960B to make a very balanced set in size and style. Both are from the Pezzotta collection and together make a wonderful set. Over 700 grams in mass. Adding up the value of the slices alone, if sold individually, makes this a fairly good deal, on that basis alone! Joe Budd Photos.