"For over a century the Tourmaline Queen mine near Pala, California has been known for large and beautiful crystals of tourmaline and morganite beryl. The extraordinary blue-capped pink elbaites recovered in 1972 remain among the most famous mineral specimens of any kind ever found in California, and are surely the finest tourmalines ever recovered in North America."
Swoboda, E. (2002). History of the Tourmaline Queen Mine. The Mineralogical Record, 33 (Sept. - Oct.), 409.
The Tourmaline Queen Mine was first discovered in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, it was a major producer of fine colorful tourmaline. Most of the tourmaline, primarily the many shades of pink crystals, were sent to China to be carved into sculptures, jewelry and snuff bottles for the Chinese market. The year 1912 marked the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty and the end of boom time for tourmaline mining in California. For the next several decades, tourmaline was only mined sporadically. It wasn't until 1971-72 that the single most important tourmaline discovery would be made: the bluecap pocket. This specimen was found in that very pocket.
In this example, among the largest known, sits a large thick glowing red tourmaline capped in vivid sapphire blue, the crystal rises straight up from a matrix of quartz and cleavelandite. This is one of the very last remaining matrix bluecap tourmalines in a private collection. This specimen is at the very zenith of all minerals.
*Professionally repaired with restoration