Crystal Of The Month: Tourmaline

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If you were born in October, your birthstone is beautiful tourmaline. The name “tourmaline” comes from the Sinhalese words ‘tormalli’, which means “stone of mixed colors.” Sinhalese is one of the two official languages of Sri Lanka. As its name suggests, Tourmaline stands apart from other gemstones by offering a rainbow of colors.

This semi-precious gemstone is made up of a complex group of minerals all with different physical properties and different chemical compositions. Tourmaline is distinguished not just by its chemical diversity but also its physical properties, which weave a rich tapestry of cultural and geological narratives.

Tourmaline Through the Ages: Historical Significance

Tourmaline was not identified as a gemstone until the early 1700s when a batch of stones were brought from Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka to the Netherlands. Prior to that time tourmaline was mistaken for other stones such as Emeralds and Topaz. Tourmaline being brought out of Ceylon were labeled as “toramalli” and the name evolved from there to tourmaline.

​​​​Fun Fact

When tourmaline stones are heated they can create an electric charge attracting dust and other particles. This process is known as pyroelectricity. Electricity flows through tourmaline and it is known as the ‘Electronic Stone. 

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The Color Spectrum of Tourmaline

Tourmaline is both pyroelectric and pleochroic. This means ‘more colors’ and it can radiate two to three colors when viewed from different angles. ​​​​​​

On of the most significant tourmaline finds occurred in the 1980s very close to the village of São José da Batalha in Paraíba Brazil by Heitor Dimas Barbosa.

The vibrant and electric shade of blues, greens, and violet made these stones highly sought after. Due to the limited supply,challenging mining conditions the price of Paraíba tourmaline soared. The Paraiba gets its intense neon blue-green color from the presence of copper and manganese. Since its discovery, these rare stones with their incandescent glow have remained some of the finest tourmaline ever mined. The mine was closed just four years after it opened, exhausting that supply.

In the 2000s, many years after the first discovery in Brazil, a similar tourmaline was discovered in Nigeria and later in Mozambique. While these gems shared the chemical signature of the Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline and are beautiful, they have less color saturation.

The tourmaline’s color palette is unparalleled, from clear to black, including every shade in-between. This diversity is primarily due to trace elements present during its formation.

Some Colors Include:

  • Red/Pink Tourmaline which is highly valued
  • Blue Tourmaline which ranges from light blue to dark blue​​​​​​
  • ​​​Green Tourmaline, similar to emeralds
  • Watermelon Tourmaline which has pink, green, and white color bands which resemble a watermelon​​​​​​
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Therapeutic Qualities of Tourmaline

Tourmaline has an important place in mythology across many different cultures. Some cultures valued tourmaline for its ability to heal and protect. It was also believed to ward off evil spirits and protect from danger. Some First Nation American Tribes used tourmaline as a talisman to ward off negative energy.

In Asia tourmaline was acknowledged to be a ‘receptive stone’ providing calming, meditative spirituality and spiritual wisdom. In some countries, it’s believed that tourmaline can detoxify the body, hasten fat loss, support the kidneys and liver, increase mental alertness, and maintain a strong immune system

Tips For Caring for Your Tourmaline​​​​​​

Tourmaline is quite a sturdy gemstone and scores 7 on the Mohs scale. Tourmaline should not be stored in direct sunlight and can be cleaned by using a mild soap, warm water, and soft brush. It’s important not to clean tourmaline jewelry using ultrasonic or steam cleaners as these could damage the stone. Store your tourmaline pieces in a soft cloth away from your other jewelry to prevent scratching.

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Tourmaline Wholesaler

If you’d like to find out more about our selection of Tourmaline crystals, please contact us at sales@gemstonefactory.net or browse our complete range of wholesale gemstones on our website.

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