Saturday, June 5, 2010

Green Tourmaline

Green Tourmaline

Birthstone Month:
Tourmaline is one of the two gemstones associated with the month of October.

Being one of the two accepted birthstones for the month of October, Tourmaline is one of the zodiac gemstones for Libra and Scorpio.

Chemical Symbol:
The general symbol for Tourmaline is (Na, Ca)(Li, Mg, Al)(Al, Fe, Mn)6(BO3)3(Si6O18)(OH)4

Chemical Make-up:
Tourmaline is made up of the complex Aluminium Borosilicate element, and depending upon the color of the gemstone, one or more of a number of metal ions, usually Iron, Magnesium and Lithium.

History & Lore:
The name Tourmaline is widely accepted as being derived from the Singhalese expression tura mali, which when translated means “stone of many or mixed colors”.

Tourmaline is often referred to as the rainbow gemstone, due to the huge amount of colors that it is available in. This was certainly believed by the ancient Egyptians who believed that when Tourmaline traveled from its home in the earth's core to the surface, it did so along a rainbow, which subsequently gifted the gemstone with all of the colors of the rainbow.

Tourmalines exhibit piezoelectricity and when these stones become warm they become electrically charged – positively at one end and negatively at the other, acting like a magnet and strong enough to attract small particles of dust or ash. It is for this reason that the Dutch of old used Tourmalines to clean their pipes!

As with most gemstones, ancient civilizations credited Tourmaline gems with magical and mystical powers, including having the power to guard against danger and misfortune. Tourmalines are said to have an especially strong influence over friendship and love, lending permanence and stability to both. Tourmaline gems help to amplify psychic ability / energy and are an excellent aid to increasing self-confidence and understanding. Tourmaline is believed to help assist with tranquil sleep, calm nerves, improve concentration and creative processes and to be an aid to curing cancer.

It is believed that Green Tourmaline is particularly useful with energizing and rejuvenating the wearer, which can stimulate creativity and bring success and prosperity.

Tourmaline is a very widely available gemstone, with deposits occurring the world over. Whilst the occurance of very high quality, well-colored natural Tourmaline is rare, modern gemstone enhancements and treatments ensure that heat-treated natural Tourmalines are both available and priced at a level making them accessible to all.

There are known Tourmaline deposits throughout the world including, Afghanistan, Africa, Brazil, Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Pakistan, Siberia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the United States (California, Connecticut, Maine and Utah).

Tourmaline (regardless of variety) is rated at 7 – 7.5 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness and as such is suitable for all jewelry uses and is considered durable enough to be worn everyday.

Gemstone dealers the world over would agree that green has always been the classical color associated with Tourmaline. Being that the sheer number of available Tourmaline colors is second to none and unmatched by any other gemstone, it should come as no surprise that Tourmaline offers a vast array of green shades including brownish-green, yellowish-green, olive green, emerald green, blueish-green, and dark bottle-green, all of which are typically eye-clean. Some specimens will have a green color so light that it can hardly be noticed whereas others will be so dark that the green color can only be viewed when a light source is shone through the stone.

All Tourmaline varieties are pleochroic, meaning when the gemstone is viewed from different angles, different color intensities will be visible, with the deepest coloration always being shown along the stone's main axis. When selecting any variety of Tourmaline, go with the color that you like but generally try to steer clear of any stone that is cut too dark.

Tourmaline is a perfect choice for green gemstone lover's as there is more often then not a wonderful unique green color that will match your very own unique individuality.

Common Cuts:
Owing to the fact that Tourmaline crystals are long and narrow in shape Tourmaline gems are most commonly, although not exclusively cut into square or rectangular stepped shapes. Most Tourmalines display a mixed color saturation throughout the gemstone which makes the cut crucial to the final look of the stone. Stones that are much too dark need to be cut so that the table will be parallel to the main axis, thus making the stone lighter in color. Lighter stones need to be cut in such a way that the table is parallel to the longitudinal axis, thus achieving a darker color.

Routine Enhancements:
Green Tourmalines are often heat-treated in order to lighten colors and to remove “silk” (a form of natural imperfection / inclusion).

Care & Cleaning:
Use warm, soapy water and a soft brush to clean Tourmaline. Ultrasonic cleaners are generally safe. Never use chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid or ammonium fluoride to clean Tourmaline because it can erode the stone. Much like many gemstones, Tourmaline should be kept away from prolonged exposure to extremes of heat and light as this can cause permanent color change. Always keep your Green Tourmaline jewelry in a fabric-lined box, away from other jewelry, in order to avoid damage / scratching.

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