Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rock Review: Tourmaline

This week’s rock review features Tourmaline!
Fun Facts
Tourmaline’s name comes from the word "Thuramali" or "Thoramalli" the word for gemstone in Sri Lanka. Many brightly colored Tourmalines were originally brought to Europe by the Dutch East India Company in the fifteenth century in order to interest Europeans in new and different types of gems, which were highly in demand at the time.
Today Tourmaline can be found in Brazil, Africa, Sri Lanka, Malawi, Afghanistan and a few locations in the U.S.A. Pink and green Tourmalines are currently mined in Maine and in California. Native American peoples in these locations had used Tourmaline for many years, giving green and pink varieties as commemorative gifts at funerals. That is no surprise to gem healers who use pink and green Tourmalines to enhance happiness and open the spirit to love from others.

Geology Buzz
Tourmaline is a  stone that comes is a wide variety of colors, but is seen in it's finest gem varieties usually in dark green and a variety of pink shades from light watermelon to fierce magenta. Tourmaline consists of aluminum, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium and potassium. It is found in metamorphic rocks like granite, Marble and Schist.
Gems with a high iron content can be blue, black or brown. Gems containing large quantities of magnesium are brown and yellow. Gems with a high concentration of lithium can be almost any color. We get the very trendy Watermelon Tourmaline from the lithium based varieties. Some very special Tourmalines are dichroic, meaning they change color depending on the direction which they are viewed.
Tourmaline has a trigonal crystal structure and occurs in long thick and thin out cropping columns that take on a triangle shape. It is a 7-7/5 on Moh’s scale of hardness.

Natural Watermelon Tourmaline Slice

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