Tourmaline is a virtually unique colour miracle : this gemstone
exists in red and green, blue and yellow, and even in colourless and
black respectively. Often there are even two or more colours
displayed in one and the same Tourmaline crystal. Highly coveted
rarities are colour changing Tourmalines or chattoyant ones. However,
the classical colour for Tourmaline is green. And if you ask
gemstone dealers for Tourmaline, the green variety will almost
inevitably be the first one to come to their minds.
Nevertheless, even the green Tourmalines come in a wide range of
shades. Some are very light, others are so dark that the green
colour is only discernible when light is shone through the stone.
There are green Tourmalines in fine leek-green shades, but there are
also intensely coloured yellow-green, olive-green and brownish-green
stones. And especially the colour range from blue-green to darkest
bottle-green is covered spectacularly by wonderful Tourmalines, for
these colours are the best for these stones. They are rare and
highly coveted. Tourmaline is loved as a perfect jewellery stone by
many women, but it has also come to be preferred nowadays by quite a
Why Brazilian Tourmaline might come from Africa
Sometimes Tourmalines are offered by traders with an additional
byname, which at first sight seems to explain the stone's origin.
For example, bottle-green Tourmaline might also be offered as "Brazilian
Tourmaline”. Here it should be noted that this does not necessary
imply that the stone was actually mined in Brazil. In the past it
was considered a rigid fact that all bottle-green Tourmalines came
almost exclusively from Brazil, while blue-green to green shades
were usually found in Africa. Today things have changed, but the
trade names have been kept so that bottle-green Tourmalines are
still called "Brazilian” and bluish-green ones "African” Tourmalines,
irrespective of the actual place of origin. Another rarely used name
which is generally applied only among experts is the term "Verdelith".
It has been composed from the Latin word "viridis” for "green” and
the Greek suffix "lith” meaning "stone”. But in general we talk
about green Tourmaline.
Chromium makes green Tourmalines resemble Emeralds
Tourmalines are complex borosilicates . The different colours are in
fact caused by minute traces of other material in smallest
quantities. Due to the complex structure of this gemstone it exists
in many different varieties and shades, depending on where it grew.
This individuality is very fascinating, since each place of
occurrence brings forth a special kind of Tourmaline. With a little
bit of luck you will discover one or the other rare Tourmaline
highlight on the market: the precious Chromium-Tourmaline. This is
the trade name for the emerald-green Tourmaline variety from
Tanzania which owes its colour to traces of Vanadium and Chromium.
Its colour is outstandingly beautiful and strikingly similar to the
colour of fine Emerald, which is in turn one of the most expensive
gemstones in the world.
Tourmalines are found almost everywhere on the globe as small and
usually dark crystals. However, those locations where large and
beautiful crystals can be mined , which are worth being cut into
splendid jewels, are rather rare indeed. The most important
occurrences are located at Brazil, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique,
Pakistan and Afghanistan. But in good colour and transparency
Tourmalines are rarely found in all these gemstone mines. And should
they show hardly any inclusions at that, they will be very highly
Not easy to cut
Green Tourmalines can be cut in many different variations. However,
this demands a high degree of craftsmanship and expertise, since
most Tourmalines show a varied colour satiation throughout the
crystal depending on the axis of growth. Therefore, then, dark
stones have to be cut in such a way that the table will be parallel
to the main axis. In contrast to this, for lighter coloured stones
the table should be parallel to the longitudinal axis in order to
achieve a deeper colour. The cutter has to keep this characteristic
well in mind when planning and executing the cut, since otherwise
the colour of the cut stone might end up too dark or to pale. And
that would be a real shame, because you need not be a gemstone
expert in order to appreciate the fascination of green Tourmalines.
The colours are wonderfully harmonic and pleasant, almost spiritual.
Green Tourmalines are an epitome of life, encompassing all its
facets of vivid individuality.