Tropical Tourmaline

A relatively newly discovered gemstone, the Paraiba tourmaline has fast become one of the worlds most sought after gems. 

These tropical coloured gems are incredibly rare and unlike any other gemstone. With their unrivalled neon glow, they are in a different league to other semi precious stones such as sapphire, ruby and emeralds. To highlight how rare this stone is, there is only one Paraiba tourmaline mined for every 10,000 diamonds. 

An incredibly rare gemstone, the Paraiba tourmaline hails from the hills of carnival country Brazil. Discovered in the early 1980’s near the village of São José da Batalha, a small scale miner named Heitor Dimas Barbosa spent years digging in the hopes of hitting the jackpot and finding something special. Many people told Heitor that he was wasting his time and the hills would yield nothing but he had a feeling that one day he would make an incredible discovery and thanks to his dedication, we have the extraordinarily beautiful Paraiba tourmaline.

Gemstones contain trace elements which give them their unique colours such as the presence of vanadium in tanzanite, titanium and iron in sapphire and the presence of copper is what gives Paraiba tourmalines their distinctive neon blue-green colour. When copper oxidises, you can notice the colour change to a blue-green tone. In Glasgow, we can compare this to the Mitchell Library where the once bright copper roof has oxidised over the years to the same colour as this stunning stone.  

Another reason that these gemstones are in a league of their own is that many gemstones contain magnetic elements such as iron and nickel however copper is a non-magnetic element, making Paraiba tourmalines ‘diamagnetic’. 

When appraising gemstones, the clarity of a stone has a huge impact on its value however with these tourmalines, clarity is almost dismissed as a factor and valued predominantly on their colour. These stones often have visible inclusions, so the dismissal of heavy inclusions is standard practice in the gemmology industry. Recent discovery of the stone in the copper lined hills of Mozambique and Nigeria have yielded cleaner and larger stones than those from Brazil. To enhance their beauty, they are most commonly cut into oval and pear shapes. 

Lot 945 in the 13 August Jewellery Auction is a beautiful Paraiba tourmaline and diamond bracelet. The oval tourmalines are enhanced by their diamond halos and is set to an adjustable bracelet, maximising its wearability. With an estimate of £4000 - £5000, this could be your chance to own one of the most coveted gemstones in the world.  


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