Tourmaline is a fascinating family of gemstones because of its diversity of colour, which includes green, pink, yellow, brown, blue, black and colourless.
Perhaps one of the most spectacular types of tourmaline is the "neon" blue paraiba, first discovered in 1989 in Brazil. This distinctive gemstone commands very high prices. Another incredibly beautiful gem material is formed when green and pink tourmaline combine to produce a "watermelon" tourmaline.
The most prevalent type of tourmaline is schorl, which is black and opaque, with a very good lustre. Schorl can be found within colourless quartz crystals, which are given the name "tourmalinated quartz".
With a respectable hardness of between 7 and 7.5 on the Mohs Scale, tourmaline can be worn in jewellery without the risk of significant scratching.
The name of this gemstone comes from the word "turmali" which means "stone of mixed colours" in Sinhala.
According to some beliefs, different types of tourmaline can be used for healing and protection against disease, as well as inducing self-confidence, inner power and spiritual development.
It is the birthstone for October.
Tourmaline is found in many locations around the world including Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the USA, as well as several countries across Africa.