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What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stones?

kt

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
286
i have been reading on a number of threads about finding stones that are "copper bearing". Why is this talked about? is it because it affects the color? But what if a touramline (or whatever stone) has a beautiful glowy blue/green color, but doens't have copper? Is that less desirable?

Also, does "copper bearing" = cuprian? (I know the element name of copper is cupric/CU, but not sure if these were meant to mean the same thing?)

Thanks so much! So much to learn!
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

Yes, cuprian means copper-bearing.

It's a tricky one, and somewhat similar to the old 'emeralds must contain Chromium' saga - which would have ruled out a lot of non-Colombian stones particularly those from Zambia. Nowadays it seems to be more a case of 'if it looks like an emerald then it is an emerald' although the current 'rule' is 'coloured by either Chromium and/or Vanadium'.

In the case of Paraiba tourmalines, there are rows about whether the term 'Paraiba' should refer only to those stones from the Paraiba region of Brazil or where it can apply to any neon blue cuprian tourmaline or even any neon-blue tourmaline whatever it is coloured by.

In general it comes down to price and the premium paid for certain names/compositions. In the case of two identical stones, one from Paraiba and the other from Mozambique, you will pay a premium for the Brazilian piece.

Personally I think it all comes down to the colour... I'd rather have an amazing non-cuprian tourmaline than a crappy tourmaline that comes with a great pedigree.

However, while you could safely describe a non-cuprian neon-blue tourmaline as 'Paraiba-like', it's dangerous to describe it as 'Paraiba' unless you KNOW that it contains copper.

This article is very good on the subject.
http://www.atggems.com/Paraiba-Lawsuit-Dismissed.htm
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,517
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

The excerpt quoted in the link below gives a quick rundown on this historical naming of Paraiba and being copper bearing, including the current definition of Paraiba.
http://www.atggems.com/Paraiba_Nomenclature.htm

It came to be that some vendors have started to charge a premium for the term copper bearing or cuprian on the basis of its chemical composition, rather than the look of the glow in order to mark up a sale, thus some very pale and gray blue green tourmalines were sold at a rather high price just because they are copper bearing.
 

mastercutgems

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
356
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

KT and others :) Hi :)

I know being in this business - hobby for about 22 years I have seen a lot of gems. I have seen some doggy copper bearing gems and some outrageous glowing non-copper bearing gems. I for one never got overly involved in the "paraiba" tourmalines; one because they were just too costly to me for a gem that looked just like those from Namibia, Nigeria, and some from Afghanistan that did not have Cu present...

Just like I have seen some rubies that were far lovelier than the Burma material which usually fetches a much higher price than Madagascar, Thailand, and Tanzania...

It has a lot to do with the money put into advertisement; much like Tanzanite which we all know as Zoisite, but some companies I do not think I need to name gave it a glorified name and put it on a pedestal and wallah you have a sensation that makes a 30 dollar a carat gem back in the 1970's a 500 a cart gem in the 1990's ??? Still the same gem and as for Paraiba I think it is similar as I own and have seen tourmalines that were out of this world neon; or Windex blue that had no copper at all and did not have to be heated to be that color. Also I have seen butt-ugly yellow browns and grey-purple gems that were full of copper; all showed bands in the 900's nanometer spectrum; along with other elements that associate themselves with Cu bearing locations... It did not make them look any better...

I buy for the color and not the content; as the color is what will make your eyes happy and the cu part will make your wallet unhappy :)

But if you do buy for the content and color; just only buy stones with an accredited lab report; but prepare to pay for both.

I hope this makes sense :)

Most Respectfully;

Dana
 

ruffysdad

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
127
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

mastercutgems|1316782446|3023755 said:
KT and others :) Hi :)

I know being in this business - hobby for about 22 years I have seen a lot of gems. I have seen some doggy copper bearing gems and some outrageous glowing non-copper bearing gems. I for one never got overly involved in the "paraiba" tourmalines; one because they were just too costly to me for a gem that looked just like those from Namibia, Nigeria, and some from Afghanistan that did not have Cu present...

Just like I have seen some rubies that were far lovelier than the Burma material which usually fetches a much higher price than Madagascar, Thailand, and Tanzania...

It has a lot to do with the money put into advertisement; much like Tanzanite which we all know as Zoisite, but some companies I do not think I need to name gave it a glorified name and put it on a pedestal and wallah you have a sensation that makes a 30 dollar a carat gem back in the 1970's a 500 a cart gem in the 1990's ??? Still the same gem and as for Paraiba I think it is similar as I own and have seen tourmalines that were out of this world neon; or Windex blue that had no copper at all and did not have to be heated to be that color. Also I have seen butt-ugly yellow browns and grey-purple gems that were full of copper; all showed bands in the 900's nanometer spectrum; along with other elements that associate themselves with Cu bearing locations... It did not make them look any better...

I buy for the color and not the content; as the color is what will make your eyes happy and the cu part will make your wallet unhappy :)

But if you do buy for the content and color; just only buy stones with an accredited lab report; but prepare to pay for both.

I hope this makes sense :)

Most Respectfully;

Dana

I'm with you on this Dana. After 35+ years I stay away from buzzword stones like the plague. These are colored stones, not copper stones so when I'm offered them I usually grab my wallet with both hands and run the other way. Likewise with renamed stones like Tanzanite which are the creations of a marketing department.

I'm really sorry to see and hear the flap that's going on in this subject since it reflects on all colored stone dealers. As a buyer of rough, I care very little about what it's made of and more about clarity, color, cost and rarity. I've had some nice blue tourms pass through my hands and when questioned whether they're cuprian I find it a lot easier to answer, "I don't know and does it really matter?". If it did matter I could direct them to places where they could buy ones that were reliably tested and they could expect to pay way more as I wasn't interest in taking on the added cost of testing and certification.

Buzzwords :angryfire: !

Pete
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,707
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

A picture paints a thousand words (hopefully!) so, building on the excellent posts above, here are two photos - both of copper bearing tourmalines. Only one should be classed as Paraiba. The other is simply a very nice (to my eye) cuprian tourmaline.

Hope that helps.

Tourmaline showing inclusion.JPG

Cuprian Tourmaline on Table_1_1.JPG
 

kt

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
286
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

Thank you all and for confirming what I somewhat suspected! With all the hoopla around specifically "CU", I had been wondering if the CU made the stone stronger or something like that, which is why i was asking, and that clearly is not the case.

Another example of just how great the info is here on PS. Thanks again!
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

Oh Cu is wonderful. It produces the finest blue-green and blue color in all of the tourmaline world. The tourmaline world is a mightly big world too. I love cuprians...sigh.........
 

gsellis

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
251
Re: What exactly is the importance of "copper bearing" stone

Let me substitute some things and just reemphasize what Dana and Pete already said.

A Ferrari is a significantly hand built car, by craftsmen, with high quality materials and cutting edge technology. A new Ferrari costs above $200k. You get all of the above with great performance and a wonderful sound. If you buy the Ferrari for the noise and what it can do, that is great. It is what you like (make mine a V12). If you buy it because you want to show folks that you can pay $200k for a car, you are a poser.

I have always said, that if Yugo's sounded like that, I would own one.

Counterpoint, I did buy an emerald so I could cut one for my wife. There is just a little poser in that. But green is her favorite color. Of course, she feels like the mechanic/builder's wife. Everyone else's car or houses get fixed... :)

Buy it if you like it. It is OK to collect no matter what it is! But if you say "I only buy Cu bearing tourmaline", expect a veiled, rude reaction ;-) But no one better sell me a Yugo and tell me it is a Ferrari.
 
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