Yellow Mn-rich Elbaite from the Canary Mining Area, Zambia


Brendan M. Laurs1, William B. Simmons2, George R. Rossman3, Eric A. Fritz1, John I. Koivula1, Björn Anckar4, and Alexander U. Falster2

1Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, California
2University of New Orleans, Louisiana
3California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
4Mayfair Mining & Minerals Inc., Linfield, England

Yellow crystal


The only commercial source of yellow gem tourmaline is the Canary mining area, located 32 km west-southwest of Lundazi in eastern Zambia. Since 1983, the tourmaline has been mined from both primary and secondary deposits, in colors typically ranging from yellow-green to yellow to orange and brown; much of the orange-to-brown material is heated to attain a “golden” or “canary” yellow color. The tourmaline is Mn-rich (up to 9.18 wt.% MnO documented in the literature) and contains traces of Ti and little or no Fe. This tourmaline is probably the result of the crystallization of abundant schorl from an unusual B-rich, Li-poor pegmatite magma, which depleted Fe while conserving Mn until the late-stage crystallization of gem pockets.