Perhaps the most colourful of gemstones, tourmalines were brought from the 18th century onwards by the Dutch East India Company from Sri Lanka to Europe, where previously only the black variety, known as schorl, had been known. The glassy lustrous stones of pink, red, blue, green, yellow or brown can display dichroic properties, meaning that their colour will change when viewed from different angles. Some crystals even show two distinct colours at their different ends, and the watermelon tourmaline, its green edge outlining a pink centre, is highly prized.
Pink tourmaline is considered to be the stone of love and commitment and is, along with the opal, a birthstone for October.
Did you know?
- Pink tourmalines with a black tip, prevalent on the Island of Elba, are famously known as ‘Moors’ Heads’.
- Tourmaline jewellery is often given to celebrate an 8th wedding anniversary.
- The step cut, with a large flat table and 45 facets, is considered the best way to exhibit the tourmaline’s colouring.