Manica Blue Tourmaline. 8th March 2021
The last six months has seen some extraordinary pure-blue and electric blue-green indicolite tourmalines pass through Chanthaburi’s rough dealers, gem factories and polished-gem markets.
Hailing from Western Mozambique’s Manica province, close by to Manicaland in Zimbabwe, these brilliant color tourmalines initially sporadically hit Chanthaburi’s gem scene in August of 2020. While Indicolite is not new to Manica in Mozambique, the volume of material finding its way to Thailand manufacturers is sharply up, as is the quality and sizes being found.
Many of Chanthaburi’s resident African rough-gem dealers responsible for importing the material from Mozambique, confirmed by that a rich seam or pocket had been found in the existent mining area.
Coming in a large range of sizes from small to 50CT+ when cut, these bright colored tourmalines are also noted for their excellent clarity.
The pricing of this material, like all gems types, seems to be fairly elastic. The gamut of color hues, saturation and overtones of lightness and darkness are impressively wide, as is all the other value-driving variables found in other gems. Closed and semi-closed C
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TYPICAL INDICOLITE COLOR
The pure blue colors tend to work the best in small to medium sizes such as 4 – 8 Carats. As the size increases and “color-mass” intensifies, overtones of darkness creep in, with many of the large pure-blue indicolites tending to “close-up” in color.
As the hues move across the color-wheel from pure blue towards green, Manica indicolite tends to achieve its brightest and most accessible color in the peacock blue-green color types.
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THE COLOR CROSS-DRESSERS
Many people may feel that blue-green is not an ideal indicolite color. However, not wanting to be put conveniently in a box, the non-binary Manica indicolite also ranges into the blue-greens. At the time of writing in April 2021, Thailand’s gem markets are placing the prices of this peacock color quite a long way above that of “ideal color” pure blue indicolite.
Price in Indicolite Blue Tourmaline
As blue-green color tourmaline moves closer towards the sort of colors displayed by cuprian tourmaline , there tends to be a rise in a value. A very bright open-color top quality blue-green tourmaline of 20 carats will cost a mere fraction of what a similar color medium-quality Paraíba tourmaline could cost. While the color-cross over isn’t exact, as the Manica color hues drift closer towards some cuprian tourmalines color, prices rises rapidly.
THE CARRY TRADE TO PAKISTAN
Many of the lighter color semi-closed C-axis blue-green Manica material also remind people of tourmaline from Nuristan and Kunar provinces in Eastern Afghanistan. This similarity has not been lost on dealers from Peshawar who frequent the weekend gem market in Chanthaburi.
Every weekend, to the east of the traffic lights in the heart of the gem market, sit rows upon rows of Peshwari dealers in numerous shop houses. Some weekends see nearly 100 Pakistani dealers buying tourmaline for their Bangkok businesses and also for the ‘carry trade’ – supplying Peshawar’s gem markets with African tourmalines from Nigeria, the Congo and Mozambique.
A super fine 21.95CT electric green-blue color indicolite tourmaline from Manica Province in Western Mozambique.