Tourmaline Jewelry

Tourmaline jewelry has become very popular recently, most notably, using pink and green gemstones. Being October's alternate birthstone, wearers of tourmaline jewelry have quite a few options when it comes to color, which range from colorless to black. More interesting, perhaps, are the varieties that are multi-colored and offer a spectrum of color. In the case of watermelon tourmaline, color is arranged concentrically rather than along the length of the crystal. The name itself comes from the Sinhalese term turmali meaning multi-colored.

Tourmaline is a name applied to a family of related minerals that all have similar crystal structure, yet vary widely in chemical makeup, color and physical properties. There are ten distinct mineral species within the group, in addition to the wide variety of names given to specific colors. Most well known and used frequently in tourmaline jewelry are gems cut from elbaite tourmaline. They come in a wide variety of color and are durable. According to color, the following varieties are recognized and may or may not be used to create tourmaline jewelry: Achroite (colorless), Rubellite (pink to red), Dravite (yellow-brown to dark brown), Verdelite (green in all shades), Indigolite (blue), Siberite (lilac to violet blue), Pariaba (blue to green) and Schorl (black).

Another interesting fact about tourmaline is that it is considered piezoelectric, meaning that it has the ability to become electrically charged when it is heated and compressed, i.e. rubbed. Additionally, tourmaline crystals are pleochroic, meaning that the crystals will appear darker when viewed down the long axis of the crystal rather than from the side. For this reason, stonecutters must cut the table parallel to the long axis. In the case of paler stones, however, they may choose to cut perpendicular to the long axis in order to obtain a deeper color. By greatly heating tourmaline, small color changes can occur, causing the stones to be more desirable for tourmaline jewelry. As with many gemstones, chatoyancy has also been found within tourmaline. This cat's eye effect is found only in pink and green varieties, however.

Moh's scale of hardness lists tourmaline as a 7-7.5. Because it has no cleavage, is only slightly brittle and is, therefore, not a major problem to wear as tourmaline jewelry. As with many gems, however, it is not recommended to steam or ultrasonic clean your tourmaline jewelry.

Much of Forever Jewelers jewelry is antique style and are unique in the industry of being pieces of fine jewelry that stand out among other contemporary styles. We offer both, but our focus is on the antique style settings. We hope you enjoy them.


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