October Gemstone of the month - The Tourmaline

October Gemstone of the Month: Tourmaline

Delightfully versatile and enchanting in its aesthetic possibilities, tourmaline is a treasure amongst semi-precious jewels. As well as being an October birthstone, tourmaline is the traditional 8th wedding anniversary gift theme. Rubellite tourmaline is most frequently pictured in reference to October birthdays, with its pink hue standing as a beautiful contrast to its sister birthstone, opal.

If pink isn’t to your taste, however, we can assure you your most desired colour tourmaline exists. Potentially unmatched in its range of colours – sometimes possessing multiple colours and tones even within the same crystal – tourmaline encompasses the entire spectrum. Each colour has been given a unique name, generally harking back to days before the classification overall was distinguished. 

Pink and red stones are referred to as rubellites, greens are verdelite, and blue indigolite. Colour is the utmost factor in this particular gemstone’s measure of quality. As a rule, blues tend to be expensive, while olive greens are more affordable. Pink stones are rarest, which can also reflect in value. 

As with every gem, tourmaline is thought to have a multitude of otherworldly effects. These supposed properties vary with its colours; black is thought to be protective, and meant to lend confidence to the bearer; pink represents love, compassion, and gentleness; and green stands for courage, strength, and stamina. Ancients believed it could inspire artistic expression, which is easy to believe given the stone’s astounding variety and beauty.

Considering the generously limitless range in colour presentation, it’s no wonder tourmaline has historically been misidentified. For instance, the ‘Caesar’s Ruby’ in the Russian crown jewels is actually a rubellite tourmaline that was mistaken as a ruby before the classification was distinguished. Tourmaline itself was only recognised as its own gemstone in the 1800s, and the name itself was initially given to any coloured stone found in Sri Lanka. ‘Tourmaline’ is derived from the Sinhalese ‘tormalli’, meaning ‘stone with mixed colours’.

The cuts preferred for tourmaline vary, with the best cuts chosen to enhance each stone’s unique shade, hue, and inclusions. Cut can capitalise on any tourmaline’s clarity, and strategic cuts on the right stone can even use inclusions to create a cat’s-eye effect. 

Jewelry featuring tourmaline is suitable for everyday wear, resting at 7-7.5 on the MOHS hardness scale. While being reasonably durable, these stones can be damaged by excessive heat, so care should be taken accordingly. Cleaning is done simply and gently with warm, soapy water. Do not use ultrasonic or steam cleaners, as these are likely to bring the stone to harmful temperatures.

Pieces adorned with tourmaline make breathtaking gifts. A perfect example is our Rubellite Tourmaline and Tahiti Pearl Drop Earrings, which present a deep, satisfying shade of rubellite complemented beautifully by the pearls. For the more coveted blue tones, the Paraiba Tourmaline and Blue Topaz Ring is playful and elegantly stylish. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

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