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The name comes from the Singhalese word “turmali,” which means “mixed.” Bright rainbow collections of gemstone varieties were called “turmali” parcels.


Tourmaline occurs in more colours and combinations of colours than any other gemstone variety, and this fact makes it live up to its name. There is a tourmaline that looks like almost any other gemstone! Tourmaline occurs in every colour of the rainbow and combinations of two or three colours. Bicolour and tricolour tourmalines, with bands of colours are very popular. Sometimes the colours are at different ends of the crystal and sometimes there is one colour in the heart of the crystal and another around the outside. One colour combination, pink centre with a green rind, is called “watermelon tourmaline”.

Gemmological Characteristics:

Tourmaline is made up of complex borosilicate structure in trigonal crystal structures. With a hardness of 7.5. Tourmaline is also of interest to scientists because it changes its electrical charge when heatedand becomes a polarized crystalline magnet and can attract light objects. This property was noticed long ago before science could explain it.

Holistic Properties:

Tourmaline is strongly associated to the new age. It has a strong protective influence, it is a powerful healer to mental disorders and strengthens the will to meet changes and challenges.

Russia is a producer of pink and red tourmaline as well as Madagascar, the US, Brazil, Burma and East Africa. Other types of the stone are also available in Brazil.


Brightly colored Sri Lankan gem tourmalines were brought to Europe in great quantities by the Dutch East India Company to satisfy a demand for curiosities and gems. At the time it was not realised that schorl and tourmaline were the same mineral. Another effect which made Tourmaline popular in the 18th century were its unusual electrical properties: Tourmaline crystals when warmed exhibit static electricity. The Empress Dowager Tz’u Hsi, the last Empress of China, loved pink tourmaline and bought almost a ton of it from the new Himalayan Mine, located a long way from the Middle Country in California. The Himalayan Mine is still producing tourmaline today but the Dowager went to rest eternally on a carved tourmaline pillow.

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