Tourmaline Blue Cap Pocket
Tourmaline Queen Mine, Pala, California, USA
Small Cabinet, 6.3 x 6.1 x 5.5 cm
Ex. William (Bill) Larson
This equant, intensely colored crystal is from the famous Blue Cap Pocket of late December, 1972. It is an honest-to-god real "Blue Cap" from this most famous tourmaline pocket in US history and one of the few tourmaline finds ever to achieve literally godlike, romanticized status among worldwide collectors. Only under 100 pieces were found, of any quality. They were quickly dispersed and only turn up again occasionally. This is a nice, typical example of what would have been the middle quality level of smaller size range from the pocket, which Larson and Swoboda kept for the company locality collection. It is not pristine (it has some edge wear as you can see in the lower-right photo; and the termination has an odd tapering off to one side where it is contacted, having grown against matrix), but it displays well and has a good presence to it. The blue cap is blue, not gray (as with some crystals from a follow-up find in 1974). Interestingly, the lustrous termination has striations in it, where it grew against a bladed mineral species (cleavelandite, probably). At the time the pocket was found, this respectable sized crystal wasn't so expensive and was sold to noted collector John Sinkankas, from whose collection it was exchanged back to Bill Larson in the late 1990s about 20 years later, for the company collection as a keeper. Is it the best in the world, no of course not. BUT it is a very impressive piece visually and for size (374 grams), and is one of the few large blue caps any mortal will ever get to own as these are all in collections now, and most cost upwards of 25k even for small singles - that may be more perfect, but lack a display "punch" for the price. Blue caps are notorious for being pricey, but then again they are one of the two iconic tourmaline finds in the last 100 years, the best find ever in the US most people would say, and few are to be had. 377 grams