Everything You Need To Know About Tourmaline - The October Birthstone
What is Tourmaline?
“Tourmaline” is a group of boron silicate minerals that is one of the most popular gemstones serving as the birthstone of the month of October. These gemstones share the same crystal structure and hence the same physical properties but have starkly different chemical compositions which result in distinct chemical properties as well.
What Makes Tourmaline Special?
Tourmaline stands out due to the tremendous amount of colors it exists in. This property is due to the various chemical compositions that make tourmaline unique. The different chemical compositions and color zoning increases the number of colors this gemstone exists in.
Traces of Iron and maybe titanium produce blue and green colors. Manganese induces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows. Radiations; both natural and artificial can also lead to pink and yellow hues of tourmaline.
History of Tourmaline
In the late 1600s or early 1700s, Dutch traders off the West Coast of Italy first discovered the stone. Tourmaline gets its name from the Sinhalese word “tura mali” which roughly translates into “stone mixed with vibrant colors”. Back then, the term was dedicated to all the colored crystals on the island of Sri Lanka. The use of an inclusive and general term shows that the versatility of tourmaline rendered the traders at the time incapable of differentiating between tourmaline and other gemstones.
Before tourmaline was properly researched and differentiated, the pink and red forms of the stone were thought to be rubies. In fact, the jewels in Russian crown jewels that are treasured to be composed of the precious rubies are now thought to be made of tourmaline owing to their deeper pink shade than the typical rubies.
In Chinese traditions, there are engravings and carvings of tourmaline figures. Museums have displays of these ancient figures indicating the incredible durability of the stone through centuries. If you have seen Chinese snuff bottles, you will remember seeing the intricate carvings made of tourmaline.
Where is Tourmaline Found?
The world’s leading supplier of tourmaline is Brazil. The occurrence of tourmaline in Brazil goes back to the late 1800s when a chain of discoveries was made in the pegmatite deposits in Minas Gerais. Since there, the locals have dug, cut, and polished millions of carats of semi-precious stone consisting of a wide array of colors to export.
In the United States, pink and green tourmalines are found in abundance near the town of Paris in Maine. Since the year 1821, substantial amounts of the stone have been produced and sold from the localities of Maine. Another crucial source of tourmaline in the U.S. is the tourmaline mines in southern California. Considering the cumulative dollar value of tourmaline, it is the most valuable gemstone produced in California. These stones were then transported to China to use in snuff bottles, jewelry, and so on.
Other countries producing tourmaline include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Nigeria, Nimbria, and so on.
Physical Properties of Tourmaline
The most important physical properties of tourmaline include:
- It has a prismatic crystal habit which shows its external appearance as elongated crystals with opposite sides normally parallel to one another
- It displays pleochroism which is a property manifesting as displaying different colors from different angles of view. The darkest color can be seen from a C-axis while the lightest color can be seen perpendicular to the C-axis
- The phenomenon of color zoning which means more than one color of the crystal can be seen through their cross sections or along their length
- It has an indistinct cleavage
- Tourmaline crystallizes in the trigonal system
Chemical Properties of Tourmaline
The chemical properties of tourmaline include:
- The chemical composition is XY3Z6(T6O18)(BO3)3V3W, primarily made up of boron silicate
- Very low coefficient of thermal expansion
- It has high melting point of about 1648 degree celsius
Health Benefits of Tourmaline
Tourmaline is used not only for its beauty but also for its positive impacts on the body and energy. The stone emits far-infrared rays in the wavelengths of 4-14 microns. These electromagnetic radiations have been found to boost the immune system and potentiate detoxification,
The far-infrared rays result in resonance absorption that causes a myriad of health benefits such as improved circulation, stress relief, better immune system, increased alertness, and a sharp rise in concentration and focus. Other effects include:
- Reduction of water retention
- Assists in detoxification
- Encourage the body to lose fat
- Reduces levels of lactic acid and free fatty acids
- Promotes early recovery from physical stress
- Improves sex drive and performance
Healing Benefits of Tourmaline
The metaphysical healing properties of tourmaline result in great benefits like:
- Watermelon Tourmaline
This unique outer green and inner pink stone instill feelings of self-worth and appreciation. It is used to cleanse your chakras and balance your energies.
- Black Tourmaline
It keeps you grounded and relieves stress and anxiety.
- Pink Tourmaline
Pink Tourmaline promotes feelings of compassion, love, and kindness. It relieves you of fear and panic.
- Green Tourmaline
It boosts stamina and allows you to brace for strenuous physical activities. Another special benefit of this stone is that it discourages feelings of jealousy.
- Brown Tourmaline
This one challenges you to overcome your personal weaknesses and insecurities. It encourages you to get past your fears and let go of bad habits.
- Blue Tourmaline
Calm as its color, Blue Tourmaline is used in spiritual growth, building tolerance, and boosting intuition.
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