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Color: colorless, pink, red, yellow, brown, green, violet, black, multicolored
Moh's hardness: 7 - 7.5
Tourmaline has been known since antiquity in the Mediterranean region. It was imported from Sri Lanka to Europe in the early 1700s. The name tourmaline comes from the Singhalese words "tura mali", which can be translated to "stone with mixed colors", referring to the unusually wide color spectrum of this gemstone.
According to an ancient Egyptian legend, the tourmaline passed over a rainbow on its journey from the centre of the earth and was tinted by all its beautiful colors. To this day, the tourmaline is referred to as the "gemstone of the rainbow". Many magical powers have been attributed to this gem since ancient times. In particular, it is known as the gemstone of love and of friendship as its powers make relationships firm and long-lasting.
Tourmalines range from red to green and yellow to blue. They often have two or more colors and no two tourmalines are exactly alike. A tourmaline of an intense red is known as "rubellite", but only if it continues to display the same fine ruby red in artificial light as it does in daylight. If the color changes when the light source does, the stone is called a pink tourmaline.
One of the most popular varieties is the green Tourmaline, known as a "verdelite". But the absolute highlight among the tourmalines is the "Paraiba tourmaline", a gemstone of an intense blue to blue-green color, which was discovered 1987 in a mine in the Brazilian state of Paraiba. Tourmalines from Malawi with a vivid yellow color are known as "canary tourmalines".
Tourmalines are found all over the world. There are major deposits in Brazil, Sri Lanka and South-West Africa. Other finds have been made in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tourmalines are also found in the USA, mainly in Maine and Utah. Although there are plenty of gemstone deposits which contain tourmalines, good qualities and fine colors are not always abundant. For this reason, the price spectrum of the tourmaline is almost as broad as that of its color.
All tourmalines have a good hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Moh's scale; it has excellent wearing qualities and is easy to care for.