For many centuries, tourmaline has been collected and admired because of its almost infinite variety of colors. Currently, tourmaline is most often seen either as a green or a red gemstone with the most common source of it being Brazil. Some of the more recent deposits have been found in Madagascar and Africa which has redefined the definition of possible colors that this gemstone showcases. The Brazilian Tourmaline comes in a beautiful rich color as well as vivid pinkish red stones.
On the MOHS scale, tourmaline scores between 7 and 7.5 which makes it relatively hard. This attribute is especially important because it demonstrates the gem's resistance to scratches and damages so it can be worn on a daily basis.
Collectors try to find “watermelon tourmaline” which is tourmaline that looks like a watermelon because of its colors. With a green outer ring and a pink middle, this gem can be set into pendants with an amazing effect.
The Paraiba tourmaline is also one of the recent discoveries in Brazil. This gem is colored by copper and has the perfectly unique glowing turquoise. Similar to it is the Namibian tourmaline which presents the most amazing colors and shades of this gem. However, there are many tourmalines that require heat treatment to reach their final shade.
Tourmaline is usually transparent to translucent. The opaque material makes it common for use in different jewels and some colors can be more heavily included than others. Green tourmaline is often eye-clean while its blue, red and pink variations are almost always found with some inclusions.
Because of its elongated crystal habit, tourmaline is cut into long rectangular bar shapes. It is also available in various traditional and fancy shapes and a range of different cutting styles. Most tourmaline is completely untreated and used in its natural form. It is an extremely versatile gemstone that can be found as a centerpiece in many rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings and brooches.