We are in the mood for some enlightenment today and we would like to educate our readers about one of the best gemstones available out there. After all, knowledge shared is knowledge gained.
What is Tourmaline?
Tourmaline is a semi-precious stone and comes in a wide variety of colors. The most common tourmaline color is black, but the mineral occurs in all colors of the spectrum. It is composed of not just one, but several closely related minerals out of which the three most well-known minerals are Elbait, Schorl, and Dravite. Fun fact, it gets its name from the Sinhalese phrase “tura mali”, which means “stones mixed with vibrant colors”.
Brightly colored tourmalines were brought from Sri Lanka to Europe in great quantities by the Dutch East India Company to satisfy a demand for curiosities and gems. At the time it was not realized that schorl and tourmaline were the same mineral. Tourmaline was sometimes called the “Ceylonese [Sri Lankan] Magnet” because it could attract and then repel hot ashes due to its pyroelectric properties.
Tourmalines were used by chemists in the 19th century to polarize light by shining rays onto a cut and polished surface of the gem
This is super cool!
It’s interesting how no two Tourmaline stones will have the exact same color and it occurs in more colors and color combinations than any other mineral group, thanks to its wide range of compositions.
Heat treatment works wonders in enhancing the color of some Tourmaline stones. Some greenish stones can be made deep green, some brownish-red stones can be made red, and some light pink stones can be made colorless through heating.
What causes the varied colors?
The traces of different elements are majorly responsible for the varied colors of this miraculous stone. The traces of iron, and possibly titanium, induce green and blue colors. Manganese produces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows. Some pink and yellow tourmalines might owe their hues to color centers caused by radiation, which can be natural or laboratory-induced.
It gets even better..
Historically, it is glorified as a stone with magical powers, which is said to protect whoever wears it. Amazing, right?! To top it all, it also has a special ability to generate an electric charge and emit negative ions and far infrared rays. It has a number of health benefits as well. Seriously, what can this stone not do?! It helps in body detoxification. The far infrared rays created by tourmaline produces the same resonance in the body that is normally found in water. This form of resonance absorption helps relieve stress, increase alertness, stimulate circulation, and boost the immune system.
Tourmaline as a gemstone
Apart from these, Tourmaline crystals of good color and clarity are often cut into beautiful gemstones, but the red, green, blue, and multicolored stones, especially watermelon, are the most popular. It can be found in fairly large transparent crystals, and these can produce very large exquisite and flawless gemstones. Tourmaline is used as a large pendant stone, in bracelets, rings, and earrings. Lesser quality stones are cut into cabochons and are also polished into beads and used in bracelets and necklaces.
You can check out some other exquisite Tourmaline beauties in our shop here.
Pink and green Tourmalines from certain localities contain tiny, parallel inclusions, causing them to display a strong cat’s eye effect when polished. Such stones are often cut as cabochons and called “Cat’s Eye Tourmaline”. Some pink, green, and multi-colored Tourmalines are also carved into ornamental figures and carvings.
The value of Tourmaline has a very large range and depends on its formation. The more common forms can be fairly inexpensive, but the rarer and more exotic colors can command very high prices.