The chemical make up of tourmaline crystals is highly complex which allows for a huge range of colours, shades and hues to develop. Some are known by particular names, e.g. the deep pinkish-red stone Rubellite whilst others are referred to simply by colour, e.g. Green Tourmaline.
Some stones combine areas of different colours within the same gem, known as parti-coloured or bi-coloured stones, the most well known being the pale pink and green Watermelon Tourmaline.
Currently the hugely sort after and most highly prized variety is the electric neon blue Paraiba Tourmaline. Only discovered in the late 1980’s and named after the state in Brazil where they were originally found, clean stones of a good size and colour are rare and therefore extremely expensive. The intense colour of these stones is caused by copper and so gems of this variety, new deposits of which have very recently been found in Africa, are often referred to as Cuprian (meaning ‘copper bearing’) Tourmalines.
Description: The Tourmaline family of gemstones is notable for having a wider variety of colours than any other gem. It can be found in many places from Madagascar to California and Brazil to Afghanistan.
Hardness: 7 – 7.5 on Mohs Scale