Tourmaline, the gemstone of all colours

our jewellery story


Tourmaline exists in an important range of colours and has often be confused with other gems in the past. Due to its attractiveness, the gem surpassed more common gems, as garnets, in popularity. The delicate tints of the tourmaline bring a peculiar charm, a fact that Chinese craftsmen knew long before the Western appreciated this beautiful gem. Since ages the Chinese lapidaries carved pink or yellowish green tourmalines in fine pendants. The first Tourmaline brought to modern Europe came to Holland from Ceylon by the Dutch East India Company around the 17th century.

For ages gems were usually assimilated with their colour. But often they were mixed due to the lack of knowledge in gemmology. Later the science of gemstones developed and lapidaries could identify the tourmaline with precision.

Even if a numerous amount of gems have a lot of colours, Tourmaline offers the most spectacular instance of many varieties of beautiful colorations. No single gem minerals can be said to equal tourmaline in this respect.

The coloured varieties include blue (or Indicolite), red pink (or Rubellite), green (or Verdelite), purple-rose (Siberite), brown -yellow (or Dravite) or black (or Schorl).  The “watermelon Tourmaline” shows especially the combination of several colours disposed in bands in the same crystal.

The Tourmaline is found in the most widely separated regions on earth, like in Brazil, Angola, Australia, Tanzania, Russia, India, the United States of America and much more. 

In the 18th century, lapidaries discovered that the gemstone had particular characteristics, and was called the “Ceylon Magnet” because it could attract and then repel hot ashes. Later in the 19th century, Tourmaline was even used by chemists, due to its pyroelectric properties, to polarize light by shining rays onto a cut and polished surface of Tourmaline.

This marvellous coloured gemstone, with electric proprieties and special effects, has always been a perfect mix to use the tourmaline as talisman or gem-amulet, and gave the wearer special forces.  

Since the 19th century in England the Tourmaline became fashionable. Still today some nice examples can be visited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Also in the 20th century, Tourmaline was still popular in design jewellery. The Rubellite was even one of the favourite gemstone of René Lalique. Former famous designers as René Boivin used it also in his designs.  

Text ©World Luxury Jewellers