Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Gemstone: Tourmaline

Tourmaline & Sterling Silver Hoop Non-pierced Clip Earrings

Tourmaline is one of the most versatile gemstones on the planet. It comes in a wide range of colors, is very durable, tough, and is widely available throughout the world.  Most tourmaline gemstones display two or more colors in a single piece. It can be for example two shades of a single color or two different colors.   Or like watermelon tourmaline have a clear ring in it to separate the two colors comprising it:  the most common being pink and green or black and red. The least valuable and hardest to find is clear tourmaline and the most readily available is black tourmaline. 

Tourmaline exhibits a strong pleochorism meaning its crystals display different colors depending on the angle it is viewed at.  The gemstone is commonly opaque and the inclusions in it vary depending on the type and color of tourmaline it is. It has elongated crystals and because of this it is often cut into rectangular shapes to match. However, tourmaline can be cut into more traditional and fancy shapes. For example, darker tourmaline is cut to the table parallel and along the main axis, and watermelon tourmaline is sliced to exhibit its attractive multiple coloring. 

Most tourmaline is left untreated however yellow, pink or red varieties maybe irradiated to enhance color.  The treatment does not affect the value of the gemstones.  Lastly tourmaline is easy to care for but it does attract dust and will need to be wiped often with a soft cloth.  

All gemstones including tourmaline can safely be cleaned with warn soapy water with or without using a tooth brush.  After cleaning the gemstone wipe it with a soft cloth.  Avoid contact of any type of gemstone with household cleaning chemicals and protect them from extreme heat to prevent permanent damage to the gemstone.  

Always store gemstone jewelry inside a fabric lined box or wrap it in a soft cloth then store it separately from other gemstones. 

 References: ,, and