Tourmaline gemstone

HomeEncyclopedia of gems ➤ Tourmaline gemstone

Physical properties of tourmaline

Hardness: 7-7.5 out of 10 on the Mohs scale
Luster: glass
Transparency: transparent to opaque
Color: pink, red, orange-brown, green, blue, red-violet, black, colorless, polychrome

Tourmaline characteristics

Tourmaline (rubellite, raspberry schorl, siberite, verdelite, indicolite, dravite, achroite, schorl, paraiba, Moor's head, Turk's head, watermelon tourmaline) is one of the most interesting and rich in color gemstones, which has many subspecies with their own names.

Tourmaline was first brought from Ceylon, where this gem was called "turemal", which can be translated as "precious stone". From this word, the name of the stone was eventually obtained - tourmaline.

Tourmaline. Gemstone. Paraiba Tourmaline, Verdelite Tourmaline, Watermelon Tumaline

The colors of tourmaline are very diverse. For example, there is a ruby-red tourmaline, which received its own name - rubellite or raspberry schorl. Ural tourmaline of a thick raspberry color or lilac-red also received a separate name - siberite. There is green tourmaline - verdelite, blue - indicolite, yellow-brown - dravite (named after the place of extraction in the Austrian Drava). Black tourmaline is called schorl, and in Brazil, bright blue and bright green tourmaline stones are mined, which is called paraiba. There are tourmalines with the optical effect of a cat's eye, as well as polychrome tourmalines with several colors - for example, light tourmaline, turning into black at the very top of the crystal, which is called the "moor's head". Or the top can be red, then such a gem is called the "head of the Turk." A tourmaline red in the center and green on the periphery is called "watermelon tourmaline".

Most tourmalines are not valued very highly - from $20 to $50 per carat. But some varieties of tourmaline are much more expensive. Pink, red and green tourmaline stones are especially valued (they are also called elbaites). And the best varieties of Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline can reach prices of 4-6 thousand dollars per carat.

Tourmaline Gemstone Varieties:

  • rubellites - pink to rose-red tourmalines (red tourmalines are not rubellites)
  • verdelites - tourmalines of various shades of green, the most valuable - emerald green
  • indicolites - bluish-blue to dark blue tourmalines
  • paraiba - tourmalines of bright blue, green, blue, purple, red-violet color (often the color of paraiba tourmalines seems bright to unnatural)
  • achroites - colorless or slightly colored tourmalines
  • dravites - tourmalines of cloudy yellow, orange and brown color
  • schorls - dark brown and black tourmalines
  • polychrome tourmalines - stones painted in two or more colors, among which the most famous are:
    • watermelon tourmalines - tourmalines with a red center and green edges (coloration resembles watermelons)
    • moor's head - light-colored stones with a black head
    • Turk's head - light colored with a red head
  • siberites - crimson, lilac-red and red-violet tourmalines (not used in all countries, sometimes used as a synonym for rubellite)

In Russia, there are several church regalia decorated with tourmalines. The most famous is in the crown of Empress Anna - a tourmaline weighing more than 100 grams, which was removed from the crown of Empress Catherine I. Another well-known tourmaline is now in the Kremlin Armory - on the tabernacle from the sacristy of the Annunciation Cathedral.

A wide variety of tourmaline often led to the fact that it was confused with other stones - emeralds, amethysts, rubies, chrysolites, zircons, rauchtopazes and others. And now they make artificial imitations of tourmalines. So you need to be careful when buying jewelry with tourmaline.

How much does tourmaline cost

Tourmaline is a very inexpensive stone. The only exceptions are the bright Paraiba tourmalines, which are valued at $1,000 per carat. Paraiba is one of the most expensive gemstones.

The rest of the tourmalines can be bought much cheaper. Pink, red and purple tourmalines will start at $100 per carat. Slightly lower cost for green tourmalines, chameleonites and tourmalines with the effect of a cat's eye. Indigolites are even cheaper: the price of good quality stones is about $30 per carat. Dravites and schorls generally sell for $1-5 per carat.

Ornamental tourmaline is also valued very low - for $ 50 you can buy a string of beads.

Aventurine gemstone
See also: Amber gemstone
Moldavite gemstone

The most popular stones in our encyclopedia: