Tourmaline is a group of related minerals,
all having the same basic crystal structure but varying
widely in chemical composition and color. The name Tourmaline is from the Singhalese
word tourmali, meaning mixed colored stones
because Tourmaline is found in so many different colors
it was often confused with other gem types.
The four most common
and well known varieties of Tourmaline are Elbaite, Schorl, Dravite
and can be distinguished by their colors and
transparencies. Most gem Tourmalines are the variety
most popular and well known Tourmaline is the variety
is the most colorful of all gems and is available
in almost all the colors of the spectrum. The most well
known Elbaite gems are Achroite
(colorless), bi-color (usually pink or red and green, also blue and green), Indicolite (blue), Orange, Paraiba (containing copper), Rubellite (pink
(lavender), Verdelite (green), Watermelon (green and pink
or red) and yellow.
is the iron rich Tourmaline that is black and opaque.
Although not that popular as a gem, it is the most common of the Tourmalines in
nature and is a common
accessory mineral in igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Even though it is opaque and black, it can be faceted into
beautiful gems and was very popular in mourning
jewelry during the Victorian era. It is currently
regaining popularity. Schorl is also found as the black
inclusions in Quartz, known as Tourmalinated Quartz.
two other well known Tourmalines are Dravite
Both are magnesium/iron rich members of the Tourmaline
group. Although not nearly as well known as the many
colors of Elbaite, Dravite and Uvite are becoming better
known and are being collected as mineral specimens and
gemstones. Dravite is usually light to dark brown, black
or may also be colorless. Uvite is usually found
in dark colors such green, yellowish brown, brown, red