GEM TALK ON TOURMALINE - BIRTHSTONE FOR OCTOBER
While shopping for tourmalines, the factors to consider are:
- COLOR – Color is king for tourmaline with the more intense the better. The colors vary as we have pink, reds, blue, bi-colors as well. A distinct feature is their strong pleochroism which means they have different colors when seen from different angles
- LIGHTING - proper lighting conditions for tourmaline depend on the color variety. Reds, oranges and yellows look best under incandescent light, while greens, blues and violets appear prettier under daylight. It is always a good idea to examine your tourmaline under a variety of light sources, to eliminate any surprises.
- CLARITY – different tourmalines have different clarities. Paraiba & Rubillites tend to have eye visible inclusions, like thin needles or hair fractures. Note this does not mean they are poor quality stones. Some may have more visible fractures which can be filled to enhance the appearance – your jeweler should tell you if a stone is treated as they would be cheaper than a non-treated one.
- CUT – the cut on tourmalines are varies as they have strong pleochroism, which means lighter colored stones are cut in a way to make them darker & vice versa
- SIZE - The bigger the size the more expensive - it is very rare to find chrome tourmalines over 10cts & even rarer to find a Paraiba above 2cts.
- PRICE – varies tremendously depending on the color. Paraiba tourmaline are more expensive than the chrome or single colored ones
To care for your tourmaline:
- Store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth & away from other jewelery in order to avoid the stones from getting scratched
- Exposure to high heat is not recommended, as it may alter color and sudden temperature changes may cause fracturing.
- Tourmaline jewelry is best cleaned with lukewarm water with mild soap or detergent. Just light brush it with a soft toothbrush, rinse and wipe. I recommend doing this at the table as your jewelry can slip from your hands over the sink
- Do not clean your tourmaline jewelry in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner as they are sensitive to heat & this may damage your stone.