Tourmaline is one of the most popular and preferred gemstones by jewelry designers.

Tourmaline is one of the most popular and preferred gemstones by jewelry designers offering a wide variety of colors often found in a single stone.

Easily adjusts to fashion trends and matches most metals. But, you have to know a little more about the technical aspects and trading of Tourmalines if you don't have experience buying them.

Tourmaline is a boron silicate mineral, often containing chemical elements such as aluminum, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, copper and potassium. It is these chemical elements that give color to tourmalines.

Tourmaline is a relatively common cyclosilicate, which can occur in many types of rock. It is a stone that fetches very high prices in the collector mineral market and as a gemstone. "Tourmaline" is not really a mineral, but just a generic term applied to members of the Tourmaline Group, which is made up of 33 different minerals, with a huge compositional variety. The most common tourmaline is schorlite, which macroscopically presents a black color and, therefore, in the trade is called “black tourmaline”. Due to the large variations in color and some variations in habit, around two dozen varieties of tourmaline are recognized. Under the microscope, the differentiation of the members of the Tourmaline Group is difficult, almost impossible, requiring the use of other analytical techniques.

Not every type of tourmaline is used in jewelry. Due to its physicochemical characteristics, many types of tourmaline are used in industry.

Among the different families of tourmaline, Elbaite is the one that contains the gems used in jewelry. Their trade names are related to color:

Tourmaline mines are found in several countries. Brazil is one of the largest producers of this gem. Depending on the country the names of tourmalines are different.

Types of Tourmaline in Nature

In addition to different colors and shades, the brightness and color of the stones may vary depending on light intensity and point of view. Each version is unique. Below we will show you a little more about its variations.

Tourmalines are a group of minerals and not a single species. Among the 11 existing species, the most used as gemstones are the elbaite varieties.

Single color tourmalines are very rare. In the same crystal, different shades and even colors often occur. The variety whose center is red, the inner layer white and the outer layer green is popularly known as watermelon tourmaline.

Currently tourmalines have been identified with the name of the color after the term tourmaline, for example pink tourmaline. Another classification is the place of occurrence after the term tourmaline, such as the Paraíba tourmaline, discovered in the mid-1980s in the interior of the state of Paraíba.

Tourmaline deposits are found in pegmatites and alluvial deposits mainly in Namibia, Brazil and the USA, followed by Russia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Sri Lanka, India and Madagascar. In Brazil, the State of Minas Gerais stands out, but tourmalines also exist in Ceará, Goiás and Bahia.

Tourmaline Varieties
Tourmaline Varieties

In 1978, in the municipality of Conselheiro Pena (MG), several gemological rubellite crystals weighing tens of kilograms were discovered.

  • Dravita (browns): They are stones with a high concentration of Magnesium. Its name comes from its discovery, which took place on the Drava river, located between Austria and Slovenia.
  • Schori (black): These are stones that have a large amount of Sodium. 
  • Acroite: colorless or almost colorless; very rare
  • Elbait: These Tourmalines are rich in aluminum, lithium and sodium.

That is why Elbaite Tourmaline, within this variation of aluminum, lithium and sodium, includes the following stones:

Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba Tourmaline was discovered in the 80s, more specifically in the city of São José da Batalha. Because the composition has traces of Copper and Manganese, its hue is divided between blue and green. In addition, it is a recognized stone because of its intense shine - after cutting, Tourmaline becomes even more vivid.

Blue Tourmaline

Blue Tourmaline has variations of darker or lighter shades — which is also known as brazilian sapphire. Just like the Paraiba Tourmaline, it is a rare gem.

Black Tourmaline

Black Tourmaline has a dark hue due to the high concentration of Calcium. 

yellow tourmaline

Yellow Tourmaline is also known as Canary Tourmaline. She was one of the recent discoveries compared to the others. Its yellow hue has orange touches, but there are also variations of this stone with orange and brown tones.

According to belief, Yellow Tourmaline helps to open therapeutic paths and treatments.

Red and Pink Tourmaline

Also known as Rubelite, Pink Tourmaline presents some shade variations, which depend on the concentration of Manganese in its composition. Some variations have strong tones that can be confused with Ruby due to the reddish tone.

It is one of the most beautiful variations of the gem, as it has a more vibrant shocking pink. Also, Tourmaline can be found in some multicolored versions. 

Green Tourmaline

Green Tourmaline, also known as Verdelita, has a high concentration of Iron and Titanium, in addition to a brightness.

It can often be confused with the Emerald — this is as much due to the color as the external appearance of the stone. 

Because of its beauty, it is one of the most used stones in jewelry and their shades vary — they can be lighter or darker.

Colorless Tourmaline

Colorless or almost colorless tourmaline is very rare.

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