Friday, January 14, 2011

Tourmaline, it’s about the color!

Tourmaline, it’s about the color!

The tourmaline family is one of the most fascinating minerals of the entire mineral kingdom and it is almost entirely due to their color. They have a wide appeal because of their vivid pink, blue, green, colorless, yellow, brown, & black. Each color has it’s own name but the name can indicate a range of colors. Pink is rubellite, elbaite is green & blue is indicolite. Brown or black can be either shorl or dravite. Dravite is rather rare and besides black it can also be dark olive green-brown. Dravite crystals tend to be a little more distinct in shape as well. They are usually double terminated with a trigonal shape. There are a number of other tourmaline names and varieties and the color rule is more like a guideline as not all tourmalines fit into the color boxes exactly.
The name tourmaline is from Cingalese for Tourmali. In the 1800’s, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) used to send all their facet material to Europe’s gem centers for cutting. Most of it was actually zircons. Some of the cutters recognized that there was some other gems. Zircons kept their name zircon as recognized by the cutters and the new mineral got the Cingalese name tourmaline.

We just got in a large selection of dravite in from Nepal. The crystals range from 3/8th inch to 2 inches. They show the morphology very well. Prices are $5.00, $10.00, $15.00, $25 & $100 each depending on size and quality..
In the same collection we got one large shorl tourmaline from the famous Himalaya mine in California along with several bi-colored pink & green tourmalines.

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