Monday, June 7, 2010

Watermelon Tourmaline

Gemstone:
Watermelon Tourmaline

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

Zodiac:
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 Aluminum 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.

Watermelon Tourmalines believed to be particularly effective in helping one recover from emotional problems. It is also believed to have the combined metaphysical properties of both Green and Pink Tourmaline.

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

Pink Tourmaline is believed to represent harmony, joy of life, and lust. It vibrates the heart chakra allowing the wearer to open themselves to many levels of love. It is also believed to inspire spirituality and creativity well enhancing the one's willpower.

Availability:
Watermelon Tourmaline is a unique gemstone highly valued by collectors. The vast majority of the stones mined tend to be heavily included, with the clean gems being much more rare and naturally more expensive.

Sources:
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). The majority of Watermelon Tourmalines on the market today are mined in Newry, Maine by the Plumbago Mining Corporation®.

Evaluation:
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.

Found in an amazing variety, the sheer number of available Tourmaline colors is second to none and unmatched by any other gemstone. Tourmalines can be found in shades of blue, black, brown, colorless, green, orange, pink, red, yellow and other colors in varying shades and hues, varying from completely transparent to opaque. In addition to this there are also known occurrences of bi-color, tri-color, multi-color and “Cat's Eye” Tourmalines, ensuring that the Tourmaline truly is a gemstone that is available in a color to suit all styles and tastes.

A Tourmaline gemstone viewed from different angles will result in differing color intensities being visible. The only one thing that you can be sure of is that the deepest coloration will always be shown along the stone's main axis. When selecting a Tourmaline, go with the color that you like but generally try to steer clear of any stone that is cut too dark.

Watermelon Tourmalines are bi-colored stones with a green border enveloping a red center and often obscure or heavily included. Eye-clean stones are one-of-a-kind and are highly sought after by gem collectors and connoisseur.

Watermelon Tourmalines are presently enjoying strong demand, but for the moment pricing remains reasonable. When considering buying a Watermelon or any other Bi-color Tourmaline for that matter, pay particular attention to color separation and be sure to select a stone that does not suffer from numerous heavy inclusions as these will have a detrimental effect on the overall worth of the gemstone.

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. Watermelon Tourmalines are often cut into thin slices similar to its namesake.

Routine Enhancements:
Watermelon Tourmalines are occasionally 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 Watermelon Tourmaline jewelry in a fabric-lined box, away from other jewelry, in order to avoid damage / scratching.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, the MOST desirable Watermelon Tourmalines are TRI-colored. If you think of a cut watermelon, you will see that there is a thin green rind on the outside. However, before you get to the red flesh of the watermelon, there is also a thin WHITE layer between the green and the red. As with Ametrine, the best Watermelon Tourmalines show distinct and well-demarcated layers, rather than a fuzzy blending of colors at the margins.

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