Foxfire Jewelers The Creative
Custom Jewelry Studio since 1985
14176 NE Woodinville-Duvall
Woodinville, Washington 98072-8551
The gem Tourmaline gets its name from
the ancient Sinhalese word "Turmali" which means multi-
colored gems. This is because Tourmaline occurs in virtually every
color of the spectrum. Some examples even have multiple colors within
the same stone, the
result of changing conditions during its formation. The most popular
colors of Tourmaline are green, red, and pink.
Although mentioned as far back as Pliny's Natural History
in the first century (it was then called Lychnis) Tourmaline has
often been the victim of misidentification. Finds of green Tourmaline
brought back from the New World were sold in Europe as "Brazilian
Emerald" until the realization that it had a property known
as pyroelectricity. Pyroelectricity is a legitimate 'magical'
property. When gently heated, Tourmaline generates a static electrical
charge which attracts dust and other lightweight objects.
Because of its vivid colors and relatively
affordable cost, this gemstone is a popular choice for fine jewelry
of all kinds. It is found mostly in Brazil and Afghanistan, but
also in the USA, Burma, and India. Some names given to tourmaline's
Chrome Tourmaline: An intense, often dark green owing
to the presence of chromium in the stone.
Indicolite: From the word Indigo, a
deep blue to blue-green color.
Rubellite: Pink to deep red, from the
Latin root work "Rub" for red.
Watermelon Tourmaline: A stone which shows pink and
green together, often with a yellow divider. Most properly this
should be a slice of a Tourmaline crystal that shows red surrounded
by a green 'rind.'
Tourmaline was thought to be an aid
to meditation, fostering compassion and cool headedness. It was
said to protect its wearer against many dangers, particularly
that of falling. The gem was highly valued by alchemists who,
possibly because of it's pyroelectric effect, believed it to be
related to the philosopher's stone. This was said to be the substance
that would grant enlightenment, give power over spiritual affairs,
reconcile opposites, and change base metals to Gold.