Gemstones, Birthstones, Gemstone Jewelry

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Tourmaline - October Birthstone

Tourmalines – History and Lore

Raw Tourmaline Stone

Tourmaline is one of the most fascinating gems in the history of gemstones, including colors from black to vivid green and exhibiting unusual tri/bi color features.

According to R. V Dietrich, the gem was named tourmaline that comes from the Sinhalese words “turamali” further means ‘stones with mixed colors’. It was first found on the Isle of Elba.

The word ‘rainbow’ is used to better describe tourmaline. In reality, its diversity in color is not limited to the seven colors of the rainbow. It can just be in any color, hue or tone or may be colorless.

It is the birthstone for the ones born in October and the sun sign Leo. It is also a perfect present for eighth wedding anniversary.

As noted strongly, tourmalines are strongly pleochroic that means if viewed at different angles it can change the color, which is deeper when viewed along the prism axis. When cutting a tourmaline, gemstone cutters specially consider this to give it a perfect finish and bring out the best of its color. It is also said as ‘watermelon’ as it denotes the various shades of green, white and pink.

Cat’s Eye tourmaline represents cat’s eye look similar to what is commonly seen in tiger’s eye cabochons.

The most expensive tourmaline is the pink rubellite (deep reddish purple stone), blue indicolite (dark bluish black stone) and green verdelite (chromium resulting in beautiful green stone).

For several years, various cultures have different myths and legends associated with tourmaline. The demand for tourmaline was increased after the Second World War. It was highly used in the production of war weapons and submarine instrumentation.

One of the notable admirers of tourmaline was Tzu His, the Dowager Empress who ruled over china. This empress of the Ching dynasty liked the stone so much that she bought in lot of quantity when a new mine was opened in California. Until now, her body rests eternally on a tourmaline pillow. In the 17th century, many gemstones in the Russian Crown were thought to be Rubies but are in fact tourmalines.

Chinese have also used tourmaline for centuries for carving and engraving figures. Some of which are still displayed in museums. We may also recall the famous carved Chinese snuff bottles made from pink tourmaline.

Legends believed, tourmaline has the power to increase self-confidence, understanding and helps in concentration and communication. It is also helpful in neutralizing negative energies and helps fighting fears and grief. Tourmaline is considered a healer for the aliments associated with lymph, blood and the nervous system. It is believed to bestow powers over the spiritual affairs and would grant enlightenment. It was also thought to be helpful in building creativity, and was extensively used as a talisman by artists and writers to enhance their imaginative powers.

Tourmaline are found almost everywhere in the world including Brazil, Australia. Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Kenya, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and the USA.