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October’s gemstone is one of my favorites, a crystal with insane color and variety: the tourmaline. Tourmalines come in reds, blues, greens, oranges, pinks, and every shade in between. Tourmaline’s colors come from several sources. Most agree that green and blue colors are caused by traces of iron, and possibly titanium, while trace amounts of manganese lead to reds, pinks, and yellows. My own highly unscientific position: give me all the colors - especially during this time of year when the days are getting shorter, grayer, and darker. 

Faceted Bi-Color Tourmaline

According to the Gemological Institute of America, somewhere in Brazil in the 1500s, a Spanish conquistador came across a green tourmaline crystal and confused the bright gem with emerald. This confusion persisted for centuries, with Europeans mistaking tourmalines for emeralds and sapphires until around 1800, when tourmaline was first recognized as a distinct mineral species.

Over hundreds of years, vibrant Sri Lankan gem tourmalines were imported to Europe in great quantities by the Dutch East India Company to satisfy a demand for curiosities and gems. Today, Brazil and the continent of Africa produce the majority of the world's tourmaline, but many beautiful tourmalines are still discovered in Asia and even in the United States. In particular, the states of Maine and California have produced some of the most dazzling tourmalines anywhere on the planet.

Rough Tourmaline Crystal

One fascinating feature of tourmaline is that a single stone can be two or more colors depending on the trace elements and other environmental factors affecting each part of the mineral. This can lead to a particularly delicious variety, the watermelon tourmaline. These magnificent stones have a red or pink interior with a green “rind”, reminding us of the sweet summer treat.

Watermelon tourmaline via The Eye of Jewelry

And of course, we could not discuss tourmaline without mentioning the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba, the largest tourmaline ever found, weighing in at 191.87 carats. This magnificent stone was discovered in 1987 in Paraiba, Brazil, a region famed for producing the most vibrant and gorgeous tourmalines on Earth. And then there are slightly more modest (but still magnificent) tourmalines such as the 11.18 carat deep green-blue beauty cut in a singular fashion by renowned stone-cutter Bernd Munsteiner.

Blue-green tourmaline cut by Bernd Munsteiner

I love incorporating juicy tourmaline into my designs - in particular, you'll find the versatile and vibrant stone in the collection's stacking trillion rings in sea, forest, or grass green. These vivid pieces are inspired by the natural colors and shapes of my home of Colorado, and they layer perfectly to layer up perfectly with gold bands or other stackers. Needless to say, each one also looks great on its own.

Whether or not you were born in October, tourmalines are a great choice for jewelry-lovers who appreciate bold color. Have a look at the tourmalines in our collection pieces, and remember that you can always reach out with requests to customize one of our collection designs with your favorite shade of tourmaline. Happy jewelry hunting,




Via Sarah Martinez Fine Jewelry


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