Fashion,beauty and jewellery for the non-invisible woman over 45

Monday, 8 October 2018

Tourmaline - a gem of many colours

Close up of a beautiful pink tourmaline and diamond ring in 18 ct yellow gold from Sanders Jewellers in New Zealand.

You may thought we had covered all the birthstones by now in the regular Is This Mutton? series. Oh no, we still have a few alternative birthstones left, and tourmaline is one of the birthstones for October.
Tourmaline is a gemstone that's had a bit of an identity crisis. Back in the 1500s, a Spanish conquistador washed the dirt from a green tourmaline crystal and confused the vibrant gem with emerald. His confusion lived on until scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species in the 1800s.

The confusion about the stone’s identity is even reflected in its name, which comes from toramalli, which means “mixed gems” in Sinhalese (a language of Sri Lanka). It’s a term Dutch merchants applied to the multicoloured, water-worn pebbles that miners found in the gem gravels of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling range of colours. From rich reds to pastel pinks and peach colours, intense emerald greens to vivid yellows and deep blues, the breadth of this gem’s colour range is unrivalled. The gemstone  is mostly found in Brazil, USA and Sri Lanka.
Close-up of a green tourmaline from Sri Lanka set in 18 ct yellow gold.
It was in Sri Lanka a few years ago that I chose a green tourmaline of my own and had it made into a ring (above).

All tourmaline gems share the same crystal structure but the most common tourmaline hue is yellow/ green while the most valuable is emerald green. Tourmaline is suitable for any cut which makes it ideal for creating a unique statement piece of jewellery.

Caring for Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a durable gemstone, scoring 7 - 7.5 on the Moh scale (with 10 being the hardest), but it does need some looking after to ensure that it is kept looking its best.

Tourmaline jewellery should be stored in a soft pouch or jewellery box to prevent scratching and damage to and from other pieces. Soap and liquid cleaners should be avoided as these may cause tourmaline stones to become dull.  Instead, to clean tourmaline jewellery, rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a soft jewellery cloth. Tourmaline is sensitive to temperature, high heat or sudden changes in temperature. All these could cause fracturing.


Shopping for Tourmaline


Discover the story behind your birthstone


Check out other gemstones in the Is This Mutton? series:  Garnet, January;  Amethyst, February; Aquamarine, March; Diamond or Bloodstone; April; Emerald, May; Pearl, June; Moonstone, June; Ruby, July; Peridot, August; Sapphire, August; Opal, October; Topaz, November;  Tanzanite, December

There's more tourmaline to lust after in my Pinterest Jewellery boards. 

Sharing this post with: #WordlessWednesdays at Claire Justine, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings and #SaturdayShare at Not Dressed as Lamb.


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