By Whitney Sielaff

We received the following from Joseph I. Szweda in response to our January 29 article, "GIA explains pink zones in Mozambique tourmaline." You can find the original article at:

Dear  Editor,

  I recently read your January 29th article  regarding pink color zones in the tourmalines mentioned in the subject of  this email. I was forwarded a link through a dealer who I've done business  with as well as others in my family.

  While I do see someone like Koivula as being  credible, and your article cites the concerns with indicators of difussion  treatment, I see the door for misuse and a lack of clarification. The  concerns stem from Mr. Robert James, GG with his published imagery of what  appears to be lattice diffusion and/or surface diffusion treatments of  tourmalines. The zoning you have in your picture is one thing. We can find  these types of zones in certain sapphires too. Something like that, I don't  think anyone is too concerned with.

  However, I fear there is a lack of distinction  in the concerns. The zoning in question raised by those such as Mr. James  clearly illustrates concentric color cores. Pending the image, one appears  to be surface diffusion treatment, and the other appears to be lattice  diffusion treatment. I can see the potential for things like this article  being used to calm the troubled "pool waters", but I see a problem as a  result. It appears that this is an effort in which we're focusing too much  on chemical composition and ignoring other tests that are less expensive for  one, and some of these tests appear to preclude a more uniform and standard  methodology of testing.

  Additionally, I can see where someone could use  the buzz words "pink color zone" and "Moazambiuqe paraiba/copper-bearing  tourmaline" to imply natural. Concentric color cores are forms of zoning,  are they not? We see both forms of zoning in sapphires. Do we simply then  assume all color zoning to be naturally occuring and simply accept it as  that? Some places and dealers might, but people as myself know better than  this. I'm sure you and others in the industry are aware of that  too.

  I also see something else disturbing. There are  those who will ignore other evidence of enhancements in these stones, and  there is a lack of investigation as to the behavoirs of some of these  inclusions we find in Mozambique material. We have places like GIA and such  that stop at chemical composition, and make some seemingly educated guesses  at things, and poof. Then we all stand around and clap.


  This imagery is of an 8.05 carat copper bearing  tourmaline. It was appraised by a GG. It was identifed as being such. It's  copper bearing alright.



This is a 5.04 carat from the same source and appraised the  same.



This particular image illustrates certain anomolies near these  growth tubes that we all know about. I have others that when printed, you  can see the colorless branch that looks just like the flux you see with Mong  Hsu disease. These artifacts match, and I have other pictures of solid  single phase inclusions that:


  1. The body of the  inclusion doesn't match the color  of the host.  

  2. The anatomy of  artifacts is consistent with flux  fillers.  

  3. There is photographic  evidence of filler material  like that of flux healed  rubies.  

  4. The shape of some of  these inclusions is like that  seen in oil filled regions of  emeralds, opals, etc., except they are  solid.  

  5. There are instances in  which there are some  artifacts that look like smoke rings like you  see in lattice diffusion treated   sapphires.

  These images were  obtained using a test known as microscopic imagery technique (20x-225x). The  last image is somewhere between 170x and 215x if my memory serves correctly  I need to check my notes on that. The former of the 2 were done with oil  immersion testing using Wal-Mart brand baby oil, a cheap plastic containter  for an immersion cell, a Sharper Image flashlight with 2 sheets of paper to  difusse the light, and the same microscope.

  Why doesn't GIA do a study on that as there is  evidence in the imagery (and with a little contrast to bring things out not  display here but in print) that says flux healing has occured? Forget these  la-di-da test. This is another treatment going on that nobody is talking  about. When I shared my findings with Mr. James, he congratulated me on my  find. He said my research was on the money.

  If you would like more imagery or documentation  on these 2 samples, I will be more than happy to share them for the purposes  of reference, education and discussion. I would be willing to allow these  things to be published if you wished to do something like that so long as I  am given credit for my work.

  I send this because this illustrates not only  the technical aspects of these stones, but it illustrates how a lack of  knowledge, abused trust and a lack of inspection as well as a lack of  uniformly accepted methodologies allows these things to go to where they  have. It's an industry issue, and I write this not only as an aspiring  desginer but a collector. This sort of thing and the neglecting of things  like this will only shatter the trust not just within the industry, but with  the consumer in regards to the industry. To do anything but to take this by  the horns and be as explict as we can about it is only going to do more harm  than it will good.


Joseph I. Szweda

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