Green Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a gemstone found in various colors, which according to legend, is because it had passed a rainbow while coming up from the Earth’s center. This is why the tourmaline is called ‘gemstone of the rainbow’, and is available in red, black, yellow, blue, colorless versions and green tourmaline.

Of these many colors, green tourmaline is considered to be the classical tourmaline color. However there is a broad spectrum of green tourmalines where some are very light and some so dark that their green color is only recognized by holding the stone against the light.

The green tourmalines that arrive in blue-green and dark bottle-green shades are the best colors as they are both rare and most sought after. Though women love green tourmalines as precious loose gemstones, many men like them too.

How green tourmalines are named

In the gemstone market, green tourmalines are named with prefixes to perhaps give a hint to their origin. However this is not always true as the prefix ‘Brazil green tourmaline’ may not always mean that the gemstone comes from Brazil. The reason the stone got this name is because in previous years, most of the bottle green tourmalines came from Brazil and the green or blue-green ones came from Africa.

However today things are different, but the same names are used in the trade. So irrespective of the place of origin, bottle green tourmalines are called Brazil green tourmalines while dark green tourmalines and blue green ones, African tourmalines. Verdelite is the other name for Brazil green tourmalines.

What makes green tourmaline green

The tiny amounts of foreign matter and trace elements found in the gemstone are one of the causes for the different colors of tourmalines. And each deposit has its own kind of tourmaline, with its own complex structure. The chrome tourmaline is a special emerald green variety of tourmalines with origins in Tanzania, and colored by Vanadium and Chrome. Various trace elements in the stone cause changes in the final color; both pink tourmaline as well as Paraiba Tourmaline – which is found only in Paraiba, Africa – are both quite popular.

The major green tourmaline deposits are located in Namibia, Nigeria, Brazil, Mozambique, Pakistan and Afghanistan. However it is difficult to find green tourmalines of good color and transparency. And if the gemstone is also free of inclusions, it is even more difficult to find.

How a green tourmaline has to be cut

Though green tourmalines can be cut in various ways, the cutting requires special care as the color intensity of most green tourmalines depends on its direction of growth. This is why dark stones have to be cut so that the table is parallel to its main axis.

On the other hand, with light stones, the table surface has to be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis to get more depth in color. These points have to be borne in mind when cutting the gemstone, lest the stone ends up being too dark or too light.

Besides being a beautiful stone, green tourmalines exhibit ‘pyro-electrical’ properties where on heating, the stone gets electrically charged. And when the stone is cooled, it develops a positive and negative charge on either ends. And though colorless tourmalines are very rare, they are also the cheapest tourmalines to buy.

Copyright 2008 Paraiba International



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