The Himalaya Mine in Mesa Grande, California is world-famous for its production of gem-quality multi-colored tourmalines. First discovered over 100 years ago, it rose to prominence in the early part of the 20th century, supplying tourmaline to the Dowager Empress of China. When she passed away and the Boxer Rebellion ensued, the Chinese market for tourmaline collapsed and the mine became inactive for a long time. In the 1980’s and 1990’s Pala International once again operated the mine, producing large quantities of tourmaline, but once again the mine is mostly idle. Currently there is only minor hand mining done in the old tunnels, finding pockets passed over by the more recent work. This gem comes from old material mined during the Pala International days and is the most intensely-colored bicolored tourmaline from this mine that I have had the privilege of acquiring.
Bicolored tourmalines look best when faceted with simple designs that highlight the colors and don’t blend them. This gem was faceted by master gem cutter Meg Berry, in a unique variation of the classic emerald cut. This would make a gorgeous stone for a simple pendant as the shape is elongated to follow the natural shape of the original gem crystal. The gem weighs 6.67 carats and measures 33.6 x 5.3 x 4.1 mm.