This week we are back to one of our better-known gemstones, tantalising Tourmaline. This thrilling stone comes in a variety of colours and 32 different species! It can contain a multitude of elements and is found on every continent of the world. It is also widely recognised as a birthstone for the month of October.
Tourmaline comes in many different varieties, or species, each with their own characteristics and colours. The most well-known species are Schorl (dark green, to dark brown to black), Dravite (dark yellow to brown), and Elbaite (green, red, pink, blue, indigo and clear). It can be translucent or opaque as well as displaying both chatoyancy (cat’s eye effect) and pleochroism (colour changing effect).
Amethyst is found in many locations around the world. The greatest production is from Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) but also Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Artigas (Uruguay), Kalomo (Zambia) and Thunder Bay (Canada). Lesser amounts are found in many other locations in Africa, Spain, Argentina, Russia, Afghanistan, South Korea, Mexico and the United States.
The name Tourmaline is derived from the Sinhalese words 'Tur’ and ‘Mali' meaning ‘stones of many colours’. Compared with other gemstones, Tourmalines is a relatively recent discovery that lacks the rich lore of many other gems. However, it did become popular amongst poets during the renaissance and was even collected by the great bard William Shakespeare! Tourmaline was used by Benjamin Franklin in his studies of electricity due to the fact it becomes statically charged when rubbed or warmed.
As well as being collected and revered as a gemstone, Tourmaline is utilized in the manufacturing of hair straighteners as they are charged with negative ions which work great on frizzy hair! It also has many uses in pressure measuring equipment and other scientific applications.
Tourmaline is a name given to a family of crystalline Boron silicates that share the same crystal structure but vary in chemical composition dependant on compound elements such as Potassium, Manganese, Aluminium, Iron, Titanium, Magnesium, Sodium and Lithium. It has a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the MOHS scale and can be bi-coloured or even tri-coloured (sometimes called ‘Watermelon Tourmaline’).
Tourmaline is said to counteract negative energies and help to get rid of fear and grief, thus enabling oneself to concentrate and communicate in an effective way. It is also considered to act like a detoxifying agent which promotes relaxation of the body and the mind. This in turn is thought to improve one’s understanding, boost one’s self-confidence and increase one’s psychic energies to a great extent.