In my work I use quite a lot of tourmalines as I really like these stones. They occure in such a beautiful variety of colours. I wanted to write this short article about this gemstone to help you know more about it and maybe help in your decision and be more confident when purchasing your jewels!
It comes in bright and muted colour tones ranging from blue, green, yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, brown, colourless and black being most common. Some tourmalines are bicolour and they are called Watermelon Tourmalines because it starts with red colour at the base that sharply transitions to green and it looks like sliced watermelon!
It’s comes in so many colours because it belongs to a large group of boron silicate minerals. These minerals share a common crystal structure and similar physical properties – but vary tremendously in chemical composition. The wide range of compositions and color zoning within crystals causes tourmaline to occur in more colors and color combinations than any other mineral group.
Tourmaline has a Mohs hardness of 7 to 7 ½, and that hardness makes it a durable to be worn everyday and is fine to be set in rings. Tourmaline is also relatively resistant to chemicals so you can wash your hands with a calm conscience, your stone will not become mat and otherwise unattractive.
Tourmaline gem rough is mined from stream sediments in many parts of the world, often by artisanal miners. It generally occurs as small granules and pebbles that have been rounded by the abrasion of stream transport. Then being cut to various shaped gemstones to make them look shiny and sparkling.
Birthstone of October
Brazil has been the world’s leading source of tourmaline for nearly 500 years. In the 1500s Portuguese explorers obtained green and blue tourmaline from indigenous people and from panning streams in search of gold. They thought that these colorful stones were emeralds and sapphires and sent them back to Portugal, where they were cut into gems and used to make jewelry for royalty and wealthy citizens. (Tourmaline was not recognized as a distinct mineral until 1793.
Here are few samples of rings set with tourmalines and my tiny collection of gemstones – I can’t wait to make some beautiful jewels with it! (also rough diamond and sapphire)