You might know that tourmaline is the birthstone for October (alongside opal), but did you know that pink tourmaline has been used to inspire creative writers and artists throughout history? Or that the most expensive tourmaline was up-for-sale for a whopping $25 million? Here are the most interesting facts about this colorful gemstone that you need to know about!
1. Tourmaline comes from Singhalese
Not many people know that the word ‘tourmaline’ comes from ‘touramalli’ – a Singhalese word that means ‘mixed colored stones.’ Although the phrase was originally used to describe a variety of different colored stones, it’s now used to refer to this precious gemstone. Other names for tourmaline in the past have included ‘uvite’, ‘feruvite’ and ‘rubellite’.
2. Tourmalines come in different colors
Although pink tourmaline is one of the most popular varieties used in jewelry today, tourmaline comes in various colors, as well as combinations of two or three different colors. You might find the color at the center of the crystal, or at each end, depending on the stone. ‘Watermelon tourmaline’ is used to describe crystals that have a green rind and pink center – similar colors to the fruit.
3. Tourmalines can generate an electrical charge
Yes, that’s right – an electrical charge can be generated in some tourmaline stones just by applying some pressure on the crystal. The process – known as piezoelectricity – has been used in science for many years, and tourmaline was even used in the first ever atomic bomb. The crystal can also attract bits of wood and other lightweight substances when it’s heated.
4. Tourmaline has been popular throughout history
Tourmalines have been popular as a gem for centuries and are commonly associated with the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, who ruled China in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The last Empress of the Ch’ing Dynasty purchased large quantities of the crystal when a new tourmaline mine was opened in California. Today, the gemstone still evokes connotations of strength and royalty, and can be used to decorate buttons in jackets.
5. Tourmalines are found around the world.
Tourmalines can originate from mines around the world, including Kenya, Madagascar, the USA, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Australia, Brail, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Depending on where they are found, this October birthstone will have different patterns or qualities. Ancient legend says that this crystal can be found in all different colors because it’s traveled along a rainbow and gathered all the colors along the way!
6. Tourmalines have inspired writers and artists
Tourmaline has inspired creative minds for centuries and has been mentioned in the work of artists and writers from around the world.
7. Tourmalines need love and care
Tourmalines are easy to clean but will need regular maintenance to keep them looking shiny and new. To clean the gemstone, use a very soft toothbrush or cloth and rub it gently. Mild soap can also be used to clean the crystal, especially when tourmaline scratches easily.
8. The world’s largest tourmaline was pretty huge
The biggest tourmaline in the world was around 192 karats and was valued for over $25 million!
Custom Create the Perfect Birthstone Jewelry
If you are looking for a ring that will be cherished for a lifetime by your loved one, we are here to help. Knox Jewelers specializes in unique custom jewelry designs and engagement rings. Pink tourmaline in any shape or size can add color to one of our custom created jewelry designs for a one-of-a-kind look!
Contact Knox Jewelers to find out more about our products or services, including our custom jewelry design service. We look forward to hearing from you!