old gemstone blogs

You may not know this about me, but I love sharing information about gemstones... writing about them here lets me share information that will hopefully help you become a more informed gemstone buyer.

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Sally x

Paraiba tourmaline... or is it...

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Paraiba tourmaline – that truly gorgeous electric or neon blue/green variety of tourmaline, named after Paraiba in Brazil where it was originally found in the late 1980s. 

In 2001 tourmaline of a similar colour were discovered in Nigeria and in Mozambique in 2004, but the Brazilian stones still remain worth 4-5 times those from Africa!

From a gemmological point of view, a blue tourmaline would only be called Paraiba if it is coloured by copper, has no iron content and has good saturation of colour.

While gemmological labs can test and identify whether a tourmaline’s colour is due to the presence of copper and also determine the origin of the stone, there are naming issues with some feeling Paraiba should describe the locality in which the stone was found and others feeling that Paraiba is a trade name used to describe any vaguely blue/green tourmaline. As with anything with high monetary value, you will see a variety of stones being described as Paraiba…

I've already written about soudé emeralds where a colourless crown and pavilion are glued together with green glue, well, if you have a look at the bottom view of the stone pictured you can see that this is a soudé Paraiba tourmaline with the colourless quartz pavilion very clearly seen (and the join line at the girdle if your image is large enough!). To make this one blue they have just used blue glue instead of green…

Needless to say, I bought this for my teaching kit but could not have afforded to buy a natural Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline of this size and colour (however much I might want/need one!).

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