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Tourmaline: A Multi-Coloured Delight

Tourmaline: A Multi-Coloured Delight

Tourmaline Overview

Tourmaline is a name which is applied to a family of related minerals with widely varying properties. Tourmaline derives its name from the Singhalese word "tourmali", which means mixed stones. Even though Tourmaline is known as the modern October birthstone, it still makes very popular jewellery stones as the stone comes in an amazing range of colours.  

Tourmaline Birthstone

The October birthstone is a stunning gemstone which features pink hues. The pink tourmaline has been believed to possess healing powers and those with the October birthstone are known to be intuitive, enthusiastic, spontaneous and highly individual.

Tourmaline Hardness

Tourmaline ranks 7 - 7.5 on the MOHs (mineral of hardness scale) - This means that its toughness can be considered fair. Tourmaline is generally stable to light and isn't affected by the exposure of chemicals however heat can damage a Tourmaline. High heat can alter the colour, and sudden temperature change (thermal shock) can cause fracturing. 

Tourmaline History

It is believed that the first Tourmalines were discovered by Spanish conquistadors in Brazil in the 1500's. These Tourmalines were green and therefore was mistaken for an Emerald. This error was held until the 1800's when mineralogists finally identified the gemstone as its own mineral species. Since then, large deposits of Tourmaline has been found stateside in Maine and California. The stones were extremely popular in China as they would eagerly trade these American discovered deposits. Until 1912, the Chinese government had collapsed just as the American Tourmaline trade started booming. However, till this day, there has been many multi-coloured discoveries of Tourmaline in countries such as Brazil, Afghanistan and Madagascar.

Tourmaline Origins

Since the beginning of time, the worlds greatest Tourmalines are mined in Paraiba, Brazil - Paraiba Tourmaline's are typically small in size however are classed as rare and precious. The most striking feature about Paraiba Tourmalines is that the stone is astonishingly vibrant with its intense blue-green colour which often resembles the hues of a tropical sea.

In recent years, discoveries have also been made in Mozambique and Nigeria, these gems are known as the Cuprian Tourmaline. These Tourmalines contain Manganese and Copper, resulting in a very unique and beautiful candy colour known as Cuprian Elbaite. The value of a Cuprian Tourmaline is significantly less than a Paraiba Tourmaline but still can demand prices over $10,000 per carat.

Tourmaline Types

Schorl Tourmaline

Schorl tourmaline: The mineral Schorl information and pictures

Schorl Tourmaline is a brownish black tourmaline which is a style of silicate crystal with incredible metaphysical properties. This Tourmaline is associated with cleaning and purification and is often seen as a symbol of strength. This crystal is often possessed by people who are experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress.

Elbaite Tourmaline

Cabinet Sized Watermelon Elbaite Tourmaline Minas Gerais, Brazil. - Etsy UK

Elbaite is a multi-coloured gemstone and the most well-known and valuable form of Tourmaline. An Elbaite Tourmaline is allochromatic, meaning trace amounts of impurities can tint crystals, and it can be strongly pleochroic. Metaphysical practitioners believe that Elbaite removes fear and negativity and is known to calm nerves.

Liddicoatite Tourmaline

Liddicoatite: Vibrant Gem Honors Father of Modern Gemology

Liddicoatite is a calcium-rich lithium tourmaline which is known for its unique colour zoning and vibrant hues. Liddicoatite was not recognised as a separate tourmaline species until 1977 as its appearance is very similar to Elbaite and therefore can only be distinguished through chemical analysis. This gemstone is known to promote understanding and self-confidence and provides insight into the causes of struggle.

 Dravite Tourmaline

Tourmaline var. Dravite - JNZ20-17 - Merelani Hills - Tanzania Mineral  Specimen

Dravite, named after the Drava River in Austria, is a sodium magnesium rich tourmaline which ranges in colour from pale brown and yellow to deep brown and even blue (rarely). The transparency of the stone varies; some gems being translucent or even completely transparent, offering a stunning visual appeal. Dravite is said to help induce relaxation within our body but can also help to raise our levels of stamina when we need it.

Tourmaline Meaning

Tourmaline is said to be a stone of reconciliation that fosters compassion and cool headedness. The gem is believed to radiate an energy that attracts money, healing and friendship, and is used for grounding purposes, to stabilise and reaffirm our earth roots. The properties and energies of tourmalines vary according to the colour it comes in - The red tourmaline is known to be the most powerful stone to wear in jewellery for protection, strength and courage. 

Famous Tourmalines

One of the most famous tourmalines is the Paraiba Tourmaline. It was discovered in 1989 and was labelled as the world's most prized gemstone. The Paraiba's with the highest value have neon blue colours with a strong saturation and a medium tone.

Maine tourmaline is also considered as one of the most rarest and valuable types of Tourmaline. Maine Tourmaline has been found in all varieties of colours and can only showcase its beauty when it is cut in a "slice" form.

Tourmalines at Augustine Jewels

Purple Amethyst Cluster Necklace

Purple Amethyst Cluster Necklace with Pink Tourmaline, £490, Opal and Tourmaline Jewellery Collection

 

Purple Amethyst and Pink Tourmaline Drop Earrings

Purple Amethyst and Pink Tourmaline Drop Earrings, £590, Opal and Tourmaline Jewellery Collection

Purple Amethyst, Pink Tourmaline, and Green Peridot Cluster Ring

Purple Amethyst, Pink Tourmaline and Green Peridot Cluster Ring, £490, Opal and Tourmaline Jewellery Collection

Top 5 Facts about Tourmalines

1. Tourmaline has an electrical charge = The stone obtains an electrical charge when it is heated and then gains the ability to attract dirt particles (pyroelectricity)

2. Tourmaline is highly pleochroic = This means that the gemstone radiate different colours (two or more) when it is viewed from different angles

3. Tourmaline can be as clear as a diamond = The stone has a wide variety of colours which allows light to pass through - creating a majestic effect

4. Cat's Eye Tourmaline = There is a rare variety of tourmaline which exhibits a special reflection of light that resembles the eye of a cat

5. Tourmaline was not recognised individually at first = Before the 1800's, Tourmaline was mistaken for another gemstone, known as Topaz

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