King of Color
a color – any color – and you’ll find a beautiful tourmaline to match.
Occurring in more colors and combinations of colors than any other gem
variety, tourmaline offers both vibrancy and beauty. And if an
incredible range of colors among different tourmalines isn’t enough,
individual crystals can vary in color along their length or width. Gems
cut from these multi-colored crystals may in fact show two or more color
combinations in one gemstone!
Tourmaline has been historically confused with many
other gemstones, and understandably so. The finest greens can rival an
emerald or tsavorite garnet. Beautiful yellow and red tourmalines mimic
the look of fine fancy sapphires. A relatively recent discovery of
tourmalines in 1989 in the Paraiba state of Brazil revealed brilliant
hues of blues and greens more vivid than any ever seen before. These
Paraiba tourmalines have been described as neon green, electric blue and
sizzling turquoise. Tourmaline’s colorful nature, increased availability
and attractive affordability have led to a tremendous growth in its
popularity over the past 20 years.
Pink tourmaline is a popular alternate for the month of October.
Some of the finest examples of tourmaline today are mined in
Southern California near San Diego. Other important sources include
Brazil, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Africa. The state of Maine is an
important historical source for tourmaline and still produces small
Some tourmalines are heated or irradiated to bring out their best
color. Some treated tourmalines may fade if exposed to high heat or very
prolonged exposure to intense light.
Tourmaline is a hard gemstone that is resistant to both scratching
and breaking, but it should be protected from sharp blows or sudden
changes in temperature. Because of the natural internal characteristics
found in some tourmalines, especially pinks and reds, ultrasonic
cleaning machines should not be used. Tourmaline can be cleaned with
most any commercial jewelry cleaner or plain soap and water using a soft
Photo: Robert Weldon,
Professional Jeweler Magazine © 2002-2005 Jewelers of America