Tourmaline - The alternate Birth stone for October
Tourmaline is a large family of Gemstones with more than 100 hues available. Its name comes from the Sinhalese Turmali, meaning mixed Gemstones due to the tendency to confuse Tourmalines with other color gems. Tourmaline from Ceylon was first introduced to the European in the late 1600ís or early 1700ís by Dutch traders. It was believed to promote continued good health, so it becomes a favorite jewelry stone. Tourmalines were also attributed the ability to build valuable friendships and business contracts, to enrich knowledge and intuition and to create harmony and social popularity.
Tourmaline crystals are often cracked and flawed, especially in the Red, Pink and Bi-colors. Clean stones of 10 carats or more in these colors command a premium price. The Green and Blue colors are generally very clean.
Tourmaline crystal grow in the hexagonal shape and tend to be long, pencil shape crystals. This crystal shape is the reason why long rectangular cuts are so frequently seen in Tourmaline. Many Tourmalines exhibit pleochroism, the variation of colors visible in different axial directions of the crystal. The cutter must always cut the table parallel to the main axis to produce a stone with vivid color. All Tourmaline crystals begin as colorless. Colors are absorbed when trace elements of seeping liquids replace the normally present atoms. Tourmaline takes a wider variety of colors from these trace elements than any other Gem.
A pocket of Tourmaline crystals may contain one of several different colors.
Tourmaline is a good jewelry stone. It has a hardness of 7 - 7.5 on the Mohs scale. All Tourmaline jewelry shoild be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. Tourmaline jewelry should be cleaned in warm, soapy water with a soft brush. Any of the Tourmaline colors can be used as one of the birth stones for October. Tourmaline is also the recommended gem for married couples who are celebrating their 8th wedding anniversary. Heat treatment is common on dark color gems, otherwise occasional. Irradiation is occasional.