One of the most enchanting aspects of tourmaline is its remarkable diversity of colors. It is often referred to as the "rainbow gem" due to its ability to display a wide spectrum of hues within a single stone. From vibrant pinks and rich greens to deep blues and fiery oranges, tourmaline showcases nature's artistic prowess. This range of colors is a result of the presence of various trace minerals that materialized in the stone during the crystallization process.
Crystals may be green at one end and pink at the other, or green on the outside and pink inside; this type is called watermelon tourmaline and is prized in jewelry. Some varieties of tourmaline even exhibit a phenomenon known as "pleochroism," where the gem's color changes when viewed from different angles.
Tourmaline is one of the few gemstones that exhibits both pyroelectric and piezoelectric properties. When heated or subjected to pressure, it generates an electric charge. This characteristic has led to its use in various scientific instruments and even as a component in certain electronic devices. Tourmaline was sometimes called the "Ceylonese Magnet" because it could attract and then repel hot ashes due to its pyroelectric properties.
In the realm of metaphysical beliefs, tourmaline is often considered a protective stone that can ward off negative energy. It's believed to create a barrier against electromagnetic radiation emitted by electronic devices, making it a popular choice for those seeking to minimize their exposure.
Throughout history and across cultures, tourmaline has been associated with various symbolic meanings. The wide spectrum of colors found in tourmaline mirrors the diversity and complexity of life. This gemstone is often seen as a representation of balance, reminding us of the importance of embracing the different facets of our journey.
Gem and specimen tourmaline is mined chiefly in Brazil and many parts of Africa, including Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, and Namibia. It is also mined in Asia, notably in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Indonesia as well as in Sri Lanka and India.