According to Egyptian legend, the tourmaline passed over a rainbow on its journey from the center of the Earth – assuming all the colours of the rainbow in the process. While the gemstone does indeed come in a “rainbow” of hues, the pink tourmaline is perhaps the most well-known variety. Here’s a brief look at this month’s dazzling birthstone and how it got its rosy hue.
What they are
A crystal boron silicate mineral, the tourmaline has a complex and varied chemical formula that is characterized by the presence of boron, compounded with many other elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium or potassium. The popular pink color, however, is the result of prolonged natural irradiation. Initially quite pale, natural gamma ray exposure from radioactive decay in their environment is responsible for the pink tourmaline’s recognizable hue.
How they’re made
Tourmaline is created in a process known as the hypothermal process. Rainwater – a mix of water and minerals – fills cracks in cooling molten rock called magma as it hardens into rock.
Where they’re found
While gem-quality tourmalines were initially brought to Europe from Sri Lanka by the Dutch East India Company, today tourmaline is mined predominantly in Brazil and Africa. There are, however, deposits of tourmaline in Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Malawi.
What to look out for
Some tourmaline gems, particularly those in the pink and red variety, are professionally altered by irradiation to improve their color. But irradiation is almost impossible to detect in tourmalines and doesn’t currently impact their value. Heavily-included tourmalines, such as rubellite, are sometimes clarity-enhanced. A clarity-enhanced tourmaline is, however, worth less than a non-treated gem.
Jewlr goes to great lentghs to offer the most dazzling pink tourmalines in our pink tourmaline jewelry. So whether you’re celebrating an October birthday, or simply want some pretty pink sparkle for your collection, you can shop the full range of pink tourmaline jewelry at Jewlr.com/october-birthstone-jewelry.
Is pink your favorite tourmaline variety? Tell us below!