Precious and colourful, tourmaline exists in a wide range of vibrant colours. Tourmaline is the October birthstone (alongside opal) and is also used to celebrate the 8th wedding anniversary.
“Tourmalines come in a wide variety of exciting colours. In fact, tourmaline has one of the widest colour ranges of any gem species, occurring in various shades of virtually every hue.”
The colour range found in tourmaline and its toughness make this diverse mineral a fantastic choice for all types of jewellery, and one of my favourites to work with. It is well suited to rings, especially when set in a protective bezel setting (see pictured).
An elusive gemstone
In 1554 Francisco Spinoza’s expedition discovered “Brazilian emerald”: this is the first historical record of green tourmaline crystal. For centuries tourmalines were used in jewellery, but they were mistaken for other gemstones.
“It wasn’t until the early 18th century that tourmaline was recognised as a distinct gemstone. Up to that time, red and green varieties were often classified as a type of ruby or emerald.”
Renée Newman, The Gemstone Buying Guide
Vivid Paraiba Fascination
The rarest and most precious of all tourmaline is the Brazilian Paraiba, a type of tourmaline discovered in the Paraiba region of Brazil, with elements of copper in its composition, it displays incredible turquoise blue/green tones.
“Faceted, they scintillate a really unusual fire and appear to glow intensely even when there is very little light. That is why their colour is often referred to as ‘electric’ or ‘neon’.”
I have a long term love of natural vivid cabochon cut gems, and more recently I have become fascinated with the transformation achieved by sophisticated technical faceted cutting to high quality gem material.
The play of light and the presenting of different colours held within a gem is exciting and eye catching. Particularly with rings this gives the wearer a continual fascination and creates a playful relationship with your jewellery.
Inspired to commission your own unique tourmaline jewellery?
A recent commission featuring a large princess-cut green tourmaline. Set in 18ct yellow gold on a hand-wrought band of sterling silver, with 18ct gold detail.