How It Looks
Tourmaline comes in virtually all colours and some stones have more than one colour giving a two-tone or even three-tone effect.
- Rubellite: is a classification for the stones of these particular hues- pink, red, purplish red, orangy red, or brownish red.
- Indicolite: is considered to include dark violet-blue, blue, or greenish blue tourmaline.
- Paraíba: This stone classification is named after the state of Paraíba in Brazil where the famous intense violet-blue, greenish blue, or blue tourmaline is found.
- Chrome: This tourmaline (unlike the other classifications) comes in one hue- an intense green. It is comprised of the same element that colours Brazilian and African emeralds.
- Parti-colored: These stones display more than one colour in its body. One of the most common combinations is Watermelon tourmaline. It is green on the outside and pink on the inside, but many other combinations are possible.
History of Tourmaline
Tourmaline comes in such a vast array of colours and in the past it was hard to distinguish it from other well known stones such as Rubys, Sapphores and Emeralds. This was because stones were originally identified by their colouring alone. It has been mistakenly used in replacement of those aforementioned stones and called by those false names for centuries.
In the 1500’s, a Spanish Conquistador in discovered a green tourmaline crystal and confused the vibrant gem with an emerald. It was only in the 1800’s that it was discovered that Tourmaline was a distinct mineral species. In Brazil in the 1980’s and 90’s more colour variations of Tourmaline were discovered.
One of the earliest reports of tourmaline in California was in 1892 when Chrome tourmaline was discovered. Due to this discovery the sale of tourmaline exploded and it’s biggest market was in China. A large portion of the Californian pink and red tourmaline was shipped to the Chinese market because it was the Chinese Dowager Empress Tz'u Hsi favourite colour.
Where It Can Be Found
- USA- California & Maine (Pink & Green)
- South America- Brazil (Blue)
- Africa- Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia (Purple, Green, Pink-Red & Blue-Purple)
- Asia- Afghanistan and Pakistan (Green, Green-Yellow & Red)
- Thailand (Orange & Copper)
- Russia (Blue-Purple)