In previous articles we mentioned that Enji’s founder, Niki Grandics, loves tourmaline and uses them in her jewelry line. Maybe you are familiar with tourmaline and its varying colors and patterns, but today we want to dive a little deeper into this amazing gemstone. This gemstone is unique and has a rich deep history.
Tourmaline is very interesting as it is the gemstone available in the most colors and textures. This key characteristic created confusion for hundreds of years causing tourmaline to get misidentified with emeralds and rubies.
It was originally in 1500 when a Spanish conquistador found a vibrant green tourmaline and confused it with an emerald. This mistake went on for decades and wasn’t recognized as tourmaline until the 1800. The name tourmaline also reflects the confusion that this gem created; toramalli is Sinhalese (Sri Lanka’s language) for “mixed gems”. It is probable that tourmaline has been use even further back in history, but was misidentified until modern advances of mineralogy.
Tourmaline also has some interesting properties when exposed to heat or pressure. If a tourmaline crystal is heated and then cooled, or has pressure applied (e.g, by rubbing), it will become electrically charged. This electrical charge is strong enough to attract small particles of dust and paper; this positive charge is why tourmaline sometimes must be cleaned more often than other gems.
Tourmaline can be found in three different ways. The most spectacular and amazing crystals come from hydrothermal activity. They form when hot waters and vapors carry the elements needed to form tourmaline into pockets, voids, and fractures, which offer an open space for crystal growth.
Tourmaline can also be found as deposits in rivers and stream sediments. Tourmaline can resist weather changes and will get carried away from their original. The third and most common occurrence to find tourmaline is as an accessory to other igneous and metamorphic rocks. Small crystals can be found growing in granite, pegmatite, and gneiss.
Another interesting fact about tourmaline is that it is sought after for its dual or tri colored properties. Any changes in weather or growing conditions during the formation of tourmaline will result in two or three distinct colors among the crystal. Most jewelers want gemstone to be uniformed in color, but tourmaline is the exception to that rule.
Check out our beautiful black tourmaline necklace and earring set at our shop. They are both statement pieces that would have any of your friends in awe.