Tourmaline

April 13, 2017

TOURMALINE

 

Tourmaline includes a wide variety of different forms, colors and energy spectrums. Tourmaline made its entry into the commercial world of gems in 1876 when George Kunz sold a Green Tourmaline gem from Maine to Tiffany and Co. In the ensuing years, Tourmaline gained great popularity as a gemstone.

 

No other gemstone has such a wide variation in colours. Tourmalines can be red, pink, yellow, brown, black and various shades of green, blue lilac and violet. Often the colours vary, sometimes widely, within a single specimen.

 

Heating and cooling, or rubbing a Tourmaline crystal can cause it to become electrically charged, with one end negative and the other positive. When charged, the crystal will attract dust particles or bits of paper. This property of pyro electricity (from heat) or piezoelectricity (from pressure or rubbing) was known to Dutch traders who used the crystals to pull ashes from their meerschaum pipes, and they called them aschentrekkers or ‘ash pullers’.

 

Tourmalines were known in ancient times in the Mediterranean. A likeness of Alexander the Great carved in India and dates around the second or third century B.C. confirms this. In the early 1700s, Tourmalines were imported from Sir Lanka to Europe by Dutch traders. It was given the Sinhalese name Turamali, meaning ‘something small from the earth’. The major area where Tourmaline is found is Brazil.