Tourmaline: The Vibrant Gemstone of the Earth

Tourmaline is a remarkable gemstone renowned for its vibrant hues and magnetic properties. Named after the Sinhalese term “turmali,” which means “mixed coloured stones,” Tourmaline is indeed a treasure trove of mesmerising colours. With a range extending from verdant greens to radiant pinks and serene blues, this stone is very diverse. Its eye-catching array of colours springs from its complex mineral composition, a rich mix that enables it to produce an astonishing variety of shades.

Tourmalines are made up of a group of silicate minerals with similar chemical and physical attributes rather than a single mineral type. This extensive mineral variation is responsible for Tourmaline’s impressive colour spectrum.

Tourmaline gemstones are mined globally, with key sources including Brazil, famed for its vibrant Paraíba tourmaline, and Africa, with countries like Nigeria and Mozambique producing a range of vibrant colours. In the United States, California and Maine are historic tourmaline producers, while Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are known for their high-quality green and blue tourmalines. Russia’s Ural Mountains are unique for their multi-coloured “watermelon” tourmalines.

Tourmaline gemstones come in an exciting array of colours, with each variety having its unique characteristics. Here’s a brief overview of several popular types:

Elbaite Tourmaline: Elbaite is one of the most colourful and sought-after members of the Tourmaline family. The rich palette of Elbaite includes pink, green, blue, and multicoloured stones. It’s named after the island of Elba, Italy, where it was first discovered.

Rubellite Tourmaline: A strikingly vibrant variety, Rubellite is valued for its deep, ruby-like red colour. It retains its intense colour under different light sources, making it a beloved choice for jewellery.

Indicolite Tourmaline: Indicolite Tourmaline exhibits captivating shades of blue, ranging from light turquoise to deep midnight blue. This enchanting gemstone is often associated with peace and tranquillity.

Verdelite (Green) Tourmaline: Green Tourmaline, also known as Verdelite, ranges in colour from light mint green to rich emerald hues. It symbolises life energy and growth due to its verdant tones.

Paraiba Tourmaline: Named after the Brazilian locale where it was first discovered, Paraiba Tourmaline is famed for its neon blue or green colour, a result of copper impurities. It’s one of the rarest and most valuable members of the Tourmaline family.

Schorl (Black) Tourmaline: Schorl is the most common form of Tourmaline and is distinguished by its black or dark brown colour. Historically, it has been used as a talisman for protection.

Dravite (Brown) Tourmaline: Dravite is a brown variety of Tourmaline, which ranges from dark brown to light yellowish-brown. This calming stone is thought to encourage self-healing and self-love.

Watermelon Tourmaline: One of the most unique and playful varieties, Watermelon Tourmaline exhibits a green outer layer with a pink or red core, resembling a slice of its namesake fruit. It’s often used in unique jewellery designs.

Liddicoatite Tourmaline: Named after gemologist Richard Liddicoat, this variety of Tourmaline comes in a wide range of colours, including pink, red, green, blue, and colourless. Its unique feature is its triangular cross-section due to its crystal growth habit.

Cat’s Eye Tourmaline: This unique variety of Tourmaline exhibits chatoyancy (the optical effect of a bright streak of light running parallel to the length of the gem), similar to the sheen of a cat’s eye. This effect makes it a captivating choice for unique jewellery pieces.

Tourmaline possesses a unique quality: it can generate an electrical charge when heated or subjected to pressure, making it a gemstone of particular interest in the realm of crystal healing practices.


Ancient Legends: Tourmaline in Mythology and Symbolism

Ancient Egyptians believed that tourmaline came in a variety of colours because it passed through a rainbow during its journey from the earth’s core to the surface. The gemstone is also associated with balance, protection, and healing, believed to promote a harmonious connection with the self and the world around.

Admired for its vivid hues and extraordinary clarity, tourmaline has been sought after for grand jewellery creations. Eminent figures such as Queen Victoria, the Russian Tsars, and the last Empress of Iran have been enchanted by tourmaline’s captivating allure, adorning themselves with its exquisite gemstones.


Tourmaline’s Vibrant Jewellery Pieces in History

The Russian Crown Jewels: The Russian Crown Jewels feature a significant collection of red and green tourmalines, reflecting the deep appreciation of this gemstone’s beauty within the Russian royal court.

The Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi’s Tourmaline Necklace: The Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi of China, known for her extravagant taste in jewellery, had a particular fondness for pink tourmaline. She commissioned and imported large quantities of this gemstone, creating some of the most iconic pieces of jewellery.

Queen Victoria’s Brooch: Queen Victoria of England was a known admirer of tourmaline, particularly the green variety. Her beautiful brooch featuring a remarkable green tourmaline stone is a testament to her love for this vibrant gemstone.


Tourmaline in Jewellery

The versatility of tourmaline makes it a popular choice for various types of jewellery, including rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Its durability, with a rating of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, ensures that it can withstand daily wear and tear. The gemstone’s stunning colour and clarity make it a favourite among both contemporary and traditional jewellery designers. High-grade tourmaline is set in gold, and lower-grade tourmaline is set in silver.

Rings: Tourmaline rings, often set in white gold or platinum, create a dynamic and striking look. The gemstone is frequently cut into various shapes, such as emerald, oval, or cushion cuts, to maximise its brilliance and colour.

Necklaces: Tourmaline pendants and necklaces offer an alluring focal point, with the gemstone’s colour complementing a wide range of skin tones. Designers often use accent diamonds or other gemstones to enhance the beauty of tourmaline centrepieces.

Earrings: Tourmaline earrings can range from simple studs to elaborate chandelier designs. The gemstone’s radiant colour adds a touch of elegance and charm to any outfit.

Bracelets: Tourmaline bracelets often showcase the gemstone’s remarkable colour in a variety of styles, such as tennis bracelets, charm bracelets, or cuff designs.


The Magic of Tourmaline

The gemstone is often associated with October birthdays and is gifted on 8th wedding anniversaries, symbolising enduring love and harmony. Tourmaline is believed to possess healing properties that can help balance emotions, promote mindfulness, and enhance physical well-being.

Tourmaline is a gemstone that exudes vibrancy and captivating elegance. Its array of colours and fascinating history make it a popular choice in the world of jewellery. Whether set in a delicate ring or a statement necklace, tourmaline’s allure is undeniable, making it a prized addition to any jewellery collection.


Caring for Your Tourmaline
Tourmalines, cherished for their vibrant colours, are ideal for a broad spectrum of jewellery, rings included. While not as hard as diamonds, their durability makes them a preferred choice for pieces intended for regular wear. Nonetheless, despite their hardiness, they aren’t indestructible. Care is needed as significant impacts could damage them. Handle your tourmaline jewellery with care, avoiding rough treatment, exposure to chemicals, and drastic temperature changes.

To clean your tourmaline jewellery, follow these steps:
Place your tourmaline piece in a bowl of lukewarm, soapy water (using dishwashing liquid or mild hand soap).
Allow it to soak for a few minutes to help dislodge any grime or build-up.
Using a soft, used toothbrush, gently scrub the piece, focusing specifically on the tourmaline.
Rinse thoroughly and gently dry with a soft polishing cloth.
Frequent cleaning will ensure your tourmaline maintains its vibrant allure.

For gemstones as precious as tourmalines, it is advisable to take them to a reputable jeweller for professional cleaning using a specialist ultrasonic cleaner. Alternatively, investing in a small ultrasonic cleaner for at-home use can keep your jewellery dazzling all the time.

Unique Contemporary Tourmaline Jewellery by Paris Argentina