What is Tourmaline?

What is Tourmaline?


Tourmaline was first introduced
to the Western world when the
Dutch beganto import tourmalines
from Sri Lanka.It appeals to
jewellery designers due to it's
versatility and different colours which
include pastels, intense neons,and unique bi
- and tri-colours
.The demand for the most
sought after coloursmeans that the price for
these colours has almost tripled in recent years.


Members of the tourmaline family have the same crystal structure,
however, depending on what impurities they contain, different colours
can occur.  Tourmalines are dichroic to varying extents. Different
colours can be seen from different viewing angles. In some tourmaline
the effect is quite obvious. Indicolite looks very dark blue from one
angle and light blue from another. Red tourmaline can appear dark red
and light red, while green tourmalines are either yellow-green and dark green,
or yellow -green and blue green. Indicolite can look very dark, so requires
to be faceted to allow the lighter tone to come appear. The table facet is cut along
the length of the crystal (the direction showing the lighter colour), and the pavillion
is cut perpendicular to the table so as to prevent the blackening of the stone.


Commonly found inclusions in tourmaline are cracks that run alongside each 
other at 90 degrees to the length of the crystal. They are very reflective and often
occur in red to pink stones or where colours change inside the crystal.


Many facted tourmalines have scissor cuts or step cuts to promote the best colour
and to allow light into a potentially quite dark stone. The profile shape of the crystal
means that the tourmaline stones are often octangonal or rectangular in shape.


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