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July-August 2013

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Connoisseur's Choice: Liddicoatite, Fluor-Liddicoatite, and Liddicoatitic Tourmalines, Anjanabonoina District, Madagascar

The tourmaline database, like that of most other families of essential and accessory rock-forming minerals, has expanded dramatically during the past several decades. This has resulted in a better understanding of the structural and chemical complexities of the various members, increased species numbers, and a requirement for hierarchal reorganization. One early outcome of this explosion of knowledge was the identification and description of liddicoatite from Anjanabonoina, Madagascar, as the calcium analogue of the well-known gem and specimen species elbaite (Dunn, Appleman, and Nelen 1977). The relationship between liddicoatite and elbaite seemed clear, and liddicoatite's fundamental place in the tourmaline family appeared to be established. Here things languished for some three decades. However, the devil is in the details, especially so in mineralogy.

Guest columnist Dr. Robert B. Cook, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Geography at Auburn University.

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