Tourmaline buying guide
by Suma Shreyas
This stunning stone in colors ranging from all shades of green,blue,yellow, black, pink, red and clear is a feast to one’s eyes. Word tourmaline itself comes from Ceylon or as it is now known as Sri Lankan word “Turumali”, it means “gemstone” or sometimes referred as “mixed parcel” as it contains variety of minerals.
I was first introduced to this stunning stone called Tourmaline when I first laid my eyes on this exquisite pink stone and have been a great fan of this multi-colored stone ever since. The more and more I learnt about this gem the more I am in awe of this stone, astounded by its range of colors and its beauty.
This stunning stone in colors ranging from all shades of green, blue, yellow, black, pink, red and clear is a feast to one’s eyes. Word tourmaline itself comes from Ceylon or as it is now known as Sri Lankan word “Turumali”, it means “gemstone” or sometimes referred as “mixed parcel” as it contains variety of minerals. It is also called “Verdalite” which comes from Latin, known as “greenstone”.
Tourmaline is a collectors delight as we find enthusiastic collectors from all parts of the world on the look out for the rarest of colors, size of the stone, the setting and the concentration of colors with little or no banding of colors.
“Color” -this gives the beauty to tourmalines. Colors in every hue, shade and nuance graces this stone. Some tourmalines even have more than one color. The color that the stone gets depends on the place from where it is mined. Pariba tourmaline is a electric blue stone. While Brazil is home to green and bluish green tourmaline.
SriLanka possesses Rubellite which is blessed with colors of ruby ranging from pink to red. Malawi produces bright yellow tourmalines.
Some of the varieties of tourmalines are Rubellite (red), Indicolite ( blue), Chromolite (rich green), Canary (bright yellow), Watermelon ( green-edge and red-heart combo) Paraiba ( intense green to rich blue), Bi-color (more than one colored) Cats eye (variety of colors) and Color-change (Color changes with light from red to green ). Rest of the tourmalines are just called with the color prefix like pink-tourmaline. The color of the stone takes a different hue depending on the mineral and the proportion in which is present in it . Pariba tourmaline is said to have copper in small amount and even traces of gold.
“Cut” this is also an important factor one must remember when looking for tourmaline. It can be as varied as its color and can add or subtract to the beauty of the stone. Each cut can bring out the colors differently. Always go in for the cut-style that is appealing to you, making sure that the angles are right, light is coming back to the eye in a pleasing way and bring out the colors beautifully. Usually lighter colored tourmalines are oriented with table facet perpendicular to the c-axis to bring out the deepest color. Tourmalines are usually cut as rounds, triangles, trillions and ovals.
Tourmaline is quite a hard stone with it hardness being 7.5. Tourmalines must be protected from scratches and blows, this is to warn you that one must not wear them while boxing or wrestling!!!!.
Large temperature changes could cause harm to the stone.
“Clarity”- Usually tourmalines always comes with inclusions and can never be clean as diamonds. Tourmaline is a very popular gem with its price ranging from fairly affordable to being very expensive depending on the concentration of color and size of the stone.
“Carats” which means the weight of the stone. It becomes dearer with the increasing weight of the stone which is measured in carats. A carat is approximately one fifth of a gram. Larger stones being rare is very valuable. Paraiba being the most expensive tourmaline.
So the 4 C’s play an important role in determining the value of a gemstone and have to be considered while we are buying tourmaline too. They influence the fifth C being the “Cost”.
Tourmaline has this physical property to change its electric charge when heated so in seventeenth century Dutch sailors brought tourmaline to Europe and used them to clean the pipes as it attracted ash other light objects by becoming polarized crystalline magnet. they called them “aschntrekkers”
Moreover the very unusual colors of tourmaline ranging from electric blue to emerald green, from ruby red to exquisite pink is sure to attract attention. Tourmaline can also be used as birthstone as it comes in all colors and birthstones are determined by the color of the stones. Many mystical properties are also attributed to this exquisite gem. Pink tourmaline is said to enhance female balance and protection while green tourmaline is its counterpart enhancing male balance. Legend also has it that the wearer of all colors of tourmalines are protected from evil-eyes, misfortunes and wards off danger. Multi-coloured tourmaline is also the anniversary birth-stone on the 8th year of marriage. So if one’s marriage is on the rocks its time to get this rock. It is an eye candy if it is set in the right way.
While we are shopping for tourmalines we should enquire as to where it came from, its size and the richness of color. One must also examine the tourmaline in all kinds of lighting before buying as it can look completely different in day-light and in incandescent lighting. Soon one can become a connoisseur and be able to discern the finest of gem and be able to appreciate them. Tourmaline’s wide spectrum of colors provides innumerable options for any kind of jewellery to go with any kind of outfit making it a collectors delight.