Tourmaline is a very interesting mineral- both scientifically and gemologically speaking. As a gemstone it surpasses all others due to its range of color. Not only does it occur in almost all the colors of the rainbow and shades in between, but quite a few specimens of tourmaline are known to exhibit two or even three colors within the same crystal. Scientifically the crystals of tourmaline are piezoelectric and pyroelectric that makes them develop charges at opposite end under ideal conditions.

Name genesis:
The derivation of the name tourmaline is obscure but it is generally believed to have generated from the Sinhalese turmali, a name formerly applied to yellow zircon by local jewellers. The use of this name for tourmaline was sais to have to have come about owing to a parcel of tourmaline being sent by mistake under this name to stone dealers in Amsterdam in 1703, and the name may well have stuck since then. Indeed, turmali is still used in many major gemstone markets in India for example.

Vital Stats:
Chemical composition: The chemical formula of tourmaline is extremely complex. Containing sodium, aluminium, magnesium and lithium, the gem has differing chemical formulae fro different color varieties.

Hardness: 7 to 7.5 on Moh’s scale

Specific Gravity: 3.01 to 3.26

Refractive Index: 1.622 — 1.641

Birefringence: 0.013 to 0.024

Dispersion: 0.017 (B to G)

Fluorescence: Under SW UV some yellow stones show an extremely weak glow. Red and pink stones from certain localities may show a blue to violet glow under SW UV and X-rays.

Red to pink shades of tourmaline are often known in the trade as rubellite. Blue is called indicolite or indigolite, clourless varieties are known as achroite, brown and yellow as dravite (even when they do not belong to this species), a peculiar reddish-violet variety is called siberite. There is an opaque black tourmaline some miners call schorl, which is used for mourning jewellery. Rarely green tourmaline is called verdelite. In practice, the majority of green to yellow tourmalines are simply called tourmaline with the color prefix. A beautiful neon blue tourmaline called Paraiba tourmaline was discovered in Brazil and is famous hence. In fact the stone is so widely souoght after and valued by jewelry enthusiasts that its price can well exceed other so-called ‘precious’ stones like rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

Mursinka in the Ural mountains of Russia is a principal locality for tourmaline. Sri Lanka, south-east from Mogok in Myanmar, China, inner Mongolia, eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, eastern Nepal, Brazil, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Madagascar, California in the USA are the regions where tourmaline is found.

Shapes & Sizes:
Tourmalines are fashioned into cut stones, cabochons, beads and carvings. Beads range in size from as little as 3mm diameters to 14 mm diameters. They are available in round, faceted, tumbled, carved, striated, cubes, tubes and oval shapes. Watermelon tourmalines are fashioned into slices that show off the unique colors of this beautiful stone. Bi-colored and sometimes tri-colored crystals that occur as ‘pencils’ or elongated shapes are often cut along their natural forms to show the parti-coloring to greatest effect. Pink and other vivid colored stones are faceted and show off their colors to the best advantage when cut in large sizes of clear quality.

Design Day:
Tourmaline has a special place in the hearts and minds of jewelry designers and gemstone enthusiasts everywhere. Because of its wide range of color and easy availability every conceivable combination can be used to make and enhance jewelry set with this versatile stone. Use the clear tones of diamonds or crystal quartz to complement the rainbow hues of tourmalines. String up different colors of beads together to get an unbeatable piece of jewelry that goes with almost any outfit you may own.

History & ­Healing:
Pink tourmaline is said to be the birthstone for the month of October. Like we said earlier, the stone is piezoelectric. This property may help polarize people's emotions and energy with a magnetic- electric charge that appears when the crystal is rubbed or heated.

Pink tourmaline is said to represent love of humanity and understanding. It is worn to promote sympathy and is believed to be a great stone for spiritual healers and advisors for this very reason. Of all the different colored tourmalines, pink tourmaline is said to radiate the maximum amount of warm feelings. For it’s calming and soothing properties it is prescribed as a healing talisman for those with emotional issues due to broken relationships.

Watermelon tourmaline has a been said to be a stone of reconciliation, a stone that fosters compassion and cool headedness, radiates the energy that attracts money, healing and friendship while stabilizing, grounding and reaffirming our Earth roots.

Blue tourmaline creates a commitment towards the completion of one's goals and is said to protect the wearer against dangers.

Black tourmaline repels negative energy. It is suggested to carry this stone when you feel surrounded by negativity, and it is great for use in times of crisis or extreme stress. It will protect the wearer until they are strong enough in on their own power by breaking through old patterns and fears and cultivating inner wisdom, courage, stability and patience.

Red tourmaline builds inner strength and wisdom because it unites the heart and body in love and passion. It also brings joy, openness, emotional stability, compassion and devotion.