Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 2008, Volume 44, No. 1

Copper-Bearing (Paraíba-Type) Tourmaline from Mozambique

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Copper-Bearing (Paraíba-Type) Tourmaline from Mozambique

Copper-bearing tourmaline from Mozambique was first recovered in 2001, but its Cu content was not recognized until 2003, and it was not widely sold with its Mozambique origin disclosed until 2005. It has been mined from alluvial deposits in an approximately 3 km2 area near Mavuco in the eastern portion of the Alto Ligonha pegmatite district. Most of the production has come from artisanal mining, with hand tools used to remove up to 5 m of overburden to reach the tourmaline-bearing layer. The stones exhibit a wide range of colors, typically pink to purple, violet to blue, and blue to green or yellowish green. Heat treatment of all but the green to yellowish green stones typically produces Paraíba-like blue-to-green hues by reducing absorption at ~520 nm caused by the presence of Mn3+. The gemological properties are typical for Cu-bearing tourmaline (including material from Brazil and Nigeria); the most common inclusions consist of partially healed fractures and elongate hollow tubes. With the exception of some green to yellow-green stones, the tourmalines examined have relatively low Cu contents and very low amounts of Fe and Ti. Mechanized mining is expected to increase production from this region in the near future.

DATA DEPOSITORY

Electron-Microprobe Analyses of Tourmaline from Muva, Mozambique 
Submitted by Brendan M. Laurs
Spring, 2008

Table 1: Average Chemical Composition of 59 Cu-bearing Tourmaline Samples from Mozambique 
Submitted by David Kondo
Spring, 2008