October, October. The month where Minnesotans take a last stab at outdoor activities before the onslaught of winter commences. One good thing about October? It has two gorgeous birthstones. Why? That’s a difficult answer.
In 1870, seminal jeweler Tiffany and Company published a poem listing each month, the corresponding birthstone, and the virtues the stone contains. By 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers came up with a standardized list that included alternate gemstones to give consumers a more rounded list of gems to choose from. October got lucky and received tourmaline and opal.
Opal, unfortunately, doesn’t bode well as an everyday wearer. To read more about this wonderful, fragile stone, click here.
Tourmaline, like opal, comes in different varieties based on trace minerals existing in the crust where the gem formed. When formed around deposits of titanium and iron, tourmaline turns green. Manganese makes it red or pink. When exposed to increased levels of radiations, either naturally or in a laboratory, tourmaline can turn bright yellow.
Tourmaline is the chameleon of gemstones. Its name is based on toramalli, the Sinhalese word for ‘mixed gems’. Sinhalese being the language spoken in the Sri Lankan area from where Dutch merchants brought the gems back home. Pink, blue, green, and red stones were found in the gravel pits of the Sri Lankan mountains. Spanish conquistadors falsely thought tourmaline was emerald when they raided Brazil.
Tourmaline is so much of a chameleon that it can often be found with two colors in a single stone. The crystal grows in a long, slender manner that can cross many different mineral pockets along the way. The bottom half of the stone can be dark green and the top an intense pink. Set in a drop pendant, this kind of color change tourmaline is simply stunning.
By and large, the most desirable form of tourmaline on the market today is the Paraiba. Found in the Brazilian state of the same name, it was discovered in the 1980’s by gem hunter Heitor Dimas Barbosa. The neon bright blue color of the Paraiba tourmaline caught the world by storm. Gemologists believe that trace deposits of copper give the gemstone its electric blue color.
Tourmaline is softer than diamonds, rubies, and sapphires: it scores a 7.0 to 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Tourmaline is far more rare, though. Gemologists estimate that for every 10,000 gem quality diamonds mined from the Earth, there is one Paraiba tourmaline.
At JB Hudson Jewelers, we love diamonds. But the inner gem nerds inside all of us have a real soft spot for colored stones. Tourmaline is an all time favorite: the variety of colors and intensities it is found with is unlike any other gem. Rings, pendants, or earrings— tourmaline fits the bill in any of them. Contact us here today to see them for yourself!