The gemstone tourmaline is found in a very wide range of colours, possibly one of the most diverse of all gem materials. Very often, tourmaline crystals can be quite large and clean, from which we can cut impressive faceted gems or even carve beautiful pieces of gemstone art.
Since tourmaline has a good hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, it can be polished to a high standard, making it even more spectacular, as well as being sufficiently durable for all types of jewellery.
We frequently find tourmaline with deep green or vibrant pink colours, as well as a range of yellows and browns, but that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the tourmaline colour range. From the superb blue of indicolite through the red-pink hues of rubellite to the dazzling neon of the Paraiba tourmaline (found in Brazil), there truly is a colour for everyone in the tourmaline family.
Tourmaline is notable for its strong pleochroism, which is when a gemstone can exhibit different colours when viewed from different directions. It is often possible to see brown, green and yellow in the same piece of tourmaline when looking at it from different angles.
The pink and green crystals sometimes combine to create the fascinating, bi-colour watermelon stone, found in Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar and the United States.
Tourmaline is found in a number of other countries, including Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya.
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".
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.