Top Quality Tourmaline

Tourmaline is derived from the Sinhalese word “tourmali,” which means “mixed parcel.”

Color is king for Tourmaline, which is found in more hues, shades and nuances than any other gem. Indeed, not only does tourmaline come in every possible color, but some tourmalines have more than one color in the same stone. Other varieties are sold simply with a color prefix, as in “pink tourmaline.” Furthermore, as with most gems, the color should be as intense as possible, not too dark or too light.

When buying any gem, it is always a good idea to examine it under a variety of light sources. This eliminates future surprises. Different varieties of tourmaline tend to have different clarities. Thus, large clean tourmalines in the blue and blue-green colors are available. But almost all red and pink tourmalines will show eye-visible inclusions. The most common inclusions in tourmaline are fractures and liquid-filled healed fractures. Needle inclusions are also common.

Tourmaline is mined from the world’s great pegmatite districts. Foremost is Brazil, but fine tourmalines are also found in San Diego County, including the famous Pala pegmatite district, and Maine.
The East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar have also produced fine tourmaline in the past. Beautiful yellow “canary” tourmalines come from Malawi. However extremely fine rubellites and blue-green tourmalines are found in Nigeria. Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Burma also produce gem tourmalines on occasion.

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