1554, Brazil. Spanish Conquistador Francisco Spinoza finds on his expedition what is to be, as GIA states, “the first recorded green tourmaline crystal.” However, because of its discernable saturated green hue, Spinoza confused this tourmaline with an emerald (as did the rest of the world). From there it stayed right under our radar, appearing in places near and far, in all colors possible of the color spectrum. It’s highly likely then that tourmaline was being used centuries before, but was often mistaken for and classified as other colored gems such as ruby, sapphire, or amethyst. Thanks to the evolution of modern mineralogy, scientists in the 1800s were able to identify that Spinoza’s “Brazilian emerald” was a gemstone that belonged to a much larger, distinct family of gems than expected. (Photo Courtesy Bijoux Et Mineraux on Tumblr.)
None other can compare to the range of colors that tourmaline offers. Some in the rough even come multi-colored, displaying more than one color within a single crystal. Tourmalines may be a part of the same family, but they all differ chemically and physically. In fact, it’s what GIA says makes each distinguishable in color. Aside from sharing elements silicon, aluminum, and boron, other element traces can induce different colors in each tourmaline crystal: “…traces of iron, and possibly titanium, induce green and blue colors. Manganese produces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows.” Additionally, treatments to tourmalines (in the lab) can enhance their color, clarity, and durability. See below, produced by the state of Maine, (Courtesy ICA/Courtesy of Boston Findings Co., Inc.)
Tourmalines are semi-precious and solely mined, which makes them rare and truly one of a kind in the broad sense (perfect for a rare and one of a kind love), but because there are so many color varieties to choose from, intense or subtle, single or multi, it also makes them many of the same kind. As with all mined gems, pricing is dependent on size, rarity, and other quality factors considered.
Currently taking over Pinterest boards by storm with #Tourmaline, the gemstone is hot, hot, hot making it onto wish lists everywhere. Some believe that tourmaline has healing properties for the mind, body, and spirit and others have just grown infatuated with the gorgeousness of it in its raw form, like nature’s way of creating art to pique our curiosities, for us to marvel in adoration. Click to watch below!
We fashion enthusiasts at F&B love to play up our colors, especially with the holidays just around the corner! Tourmaline, alongside opal, is the birthstone for October which means you can spice up your fall outfit with an extra pop of color. And even if you’re dressing for another season, thinking about engagement, or just wanted that celebratory gift checked off your wish list, the tourmaline scene is definitely worth checking out.