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  • Writer's pictureAntiques in Oxford

October Birthstone – Tourmaline

Tourmaline acquired its name from the Sinhalese word ‘turmali,’ meaning ‘mixed coloured crystals’. Egyptian legend tells how tourmaline made its way from the centre of the Earth and whilst it passed over a rainbow, collected all the colours for its own. In the 1700s it was discovered that tourmaline had pyroelectric properties, the ability to attract hot ashes from coals and also repel them. The Dutch East India company brought the ‘Ceylonese magnet’ as it was known over to Europe as part of a series of curiosities.

First discovered on the island of Elba, where notable gem quality tourmalines are part of the ‘Elbaite’ species. These are then categorised further based on their colour group; three popular examples being Rubellite, Paraiba and Indicolite. Rubellite tourmalines are vivid pink-red in colour, and can found in locations such as Afghanistan and Madagascar.

Paraiba tourmalines are neon blue-green colour, traditionally only found in Brazil. Indicolite tourmalines are medium to deep blue in colour, and can found in Brazil and USA.

Often gifted on an 8th wedding anniversary.

The largest and also record breaking Paraiba tourmaline, is the ‘Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba’ weighing an impressive 191.87 carats.

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