Home > Tourmaline Jewelry

Tourmaline Jewelry

What is Tourmaline?

This is a complicated and lovely gemstone with a base of aluminum boron silicate with mixed crystals. Because of this complex composition, it is rare to find one that is a single color. Most will have at least two and maybe even three colors. Another property of this unique stone is pleochroism. This is a characteristic that is also common in iolite. It means that the gemstone exhibits different colors depending on the angle at which the light passes through stone.

Tourmaline: All the Colors of the Rainbow and Then Some

You can find tourmaline jewelry in every color under the sun, not just the rainbow. From colorless to black, this stone offers a unique opportunity for all jewelry enthusiasts. Because there are so many colors, each one has their own name even though they are all tourmaline .

Here are some of the more common colors and their attributes:
  • Rubellite- Just from the name, you can deduce that this stone is red. The shade is vibrant but must be maintained under all light sources. If it changes color in different light, it is called a pink tourmaline .
  • Indicolite- This stone exhibits various shades of blue and aqua blue colors. It is harder to find than other colors.
  • Chrome or Verdilite- This is a green tourmaline. The presence of chrome is what gives it the lush green hues.
  • Bi-Colored Stones- The famous watermelon tourmaline is a prime example of how tourmaline has more than one color. This stone is generally sliced to show the pinkish inside and the green outer band.
  • Paraiba- This is quite possibly the most coveted and expensive variety. Copper is what gives the aqua blue hues the vibrancy and neon characteristics. Its name comes from the only source of this color stone, Paraiba, Brazil.

Where Does Tourmaline Come From?

This multi-colored gemstone can be found all over the world, but the largest mines are in Brazil, South Africa and Sri Lanka. California and Maine also have mines as well as locations in North Africa and parts of Asia.

Special Significance of Tourmaline

While opal is the traditional birthstone for October, pink tourmaline is the modern choice. It is also the gemstone used to celebrate the 8th wedding anniversary. What a unique way to commemorate this occasion than with a hard to find paraiba tourmaline ring.

Aside from special days, it is also the official gemstone for the state of Maine, which is not surprising since it was first mined in this state.

Tourmaline: More than just a Pretty Face

When heated and cooled, the gemstone becomes electrically charged positive at one end and negative at the other. This is called pyro-electricity. It also charges up when pressure is applied to it. As a result, the gemstone becomes a magnet of sorts. Long ago, the Dutch discovered this property and used heated tourmaline to remove ash residue from their pipes. They gave the stone the name "aschentrekker." You might find it as an ingredient in your favorite skin care product because this magnetic property is supposed to help pull impurities from the skin.

Tourmaline History and Lore

The name came out of Sri Lanka and their word tura mali which means "mixed stone." In 1822, this gemstone was the first to be mined as part of the gemological industry in the United States. This mine was located in Mount Mica, Maine. Of course, Native Americans knew about and used it long before it was mined for industry.

Because of its magnetic properties, it is believed to be quite therapeutic when worn next to the skin. It is also supposed to ward off danger. Specific colors have their own supposed benefits. It is believed that green tourmaline enhances a man's physical endurance as well as balance. Pink tourmaline is supposed provide protection and balance for women.

How to Care for Your Tourmaline Jewelry

It is easy to clean these gemstones. A soak in warm water and a gentle cleaner is sufficient to remove the dirt and residue. If you need to, scrub the setting with a toothbrush. It is a hearty stone with a ranking of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.

Keep in mind that some varieties are treated to enhance the color. Like blue topaz, pink tourmaline is sometimes treated with radiation to get the best color. It is possible that some of the blue and green varieties may be heated as well. Because inclusions are very common in pink and red varieties, resin may be used to fill in spaces reducing their visibility. As a result of these treatments, do not expose the stones to high temperatures because it may damage the finish or affect the color.

To display the best colors in the best light, tourmaline is often cut into rectangular shapes like the emerald cut. The versatility of this stone means that there are endless possibilities for accessorizing your wardrobe. And, because they are multi-colored and pleochroismatic, they can pick up colors and change to complement your wardrobe.