is possibly the most colorful type of gem available
in the gem market with gems of almost every color of
the spectrum available. Some gems and crystals also
contain two or more colors as with the very popular
Watermelon Tourmaline. There are many gems available
with combinations of two colors such as pink/colorless,
blue/green and red/green. Achroite
is a colorless variety of Tourmaline that is usually, but not always, Elbaite.
is the blue variety of Elbaite. Rubellite is
the pink to red variety of Elbaite. Siberite is
a rare variety of Elbaite that is colored lilac, lavender, violet or violet-red to
of the other Elbaite varieties and colors are Verdelite
(green), Paraiba (containing copper), orange and yellow.
Elbaite is also
allochromatic, meaning trace amounts of impurities can tint
the color of crystals. Elbaite can also be strongly pleochroic meaning it may
appear to be different colors or hues when viewed from
different angles. Microscopic acicular inclusions in some Elbaite crystals show a
cat's eye effect in polished cabochons.
Elbaite is also piezoelectric
and some specimens and gems may exhibit weak bluish white to blue
under shortwave UV light.
the variety of Tourmaline, was named in 1913 by Russian
mineralogist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (Vernadskii)
(1863-1945) after its discovery
locality on the island of Elba, Italy. However, the
name Elbaite was first given in 1883 by German
mineralogist Carl Ludwig Giesecke
the name of a black mineral that turned out to
be the mineral Ilvaite which
was described and named in 1811 by Norwegian naturalist
Henrik Steffens (1773-1845). Steffens named Ilvaite after
Ilva, the ancient name of the island of Elba, where it was
found. The name Ilva is from the name of the ancient
tribe of the Ilvate people who inhabited the island
as early as 200 BC.
distribution: many localities; some for exceptional
specimens follow. In Italy, around San Piero in Campo,
Elba. In the Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) district, Ural
Mountains, Russia. From Korgal and Mawi, Laghman Province,
Afghanistan. In Pakistan, from around Gilgit and Stak
Nala. At Ampantsikahitra, Anjanabonoina, Antandrokomby,
Maharitra on Mt. Bity, and elsewhere on Madagascar.
In the Alto Ligonha district, Mozambique. At Karibib
and Usakos, Namibia. In the USA, from Mt. Mica, near
Paris, Newry, and elsewhere in Oxford County, Maine;
at Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut; and from the
Pala and Mesa Grande districts, San Diego County, California.
In Brazil, from a large district around Araçuaí-Itinga-Salinas,
and the Itatiaia district, Governador Valadares, Minas
Gerais; at São José da Batalha, Paraíba.
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