Gemstone sub-groups of Tourmaline: Dravite, Schorl, Uvite, and Elbaite, this particular one was named after the Italian Island of Elba and Achroite Tourmaline is a part of this sub-group.
Birthstone: Tourmaline is just one two gemstones thought of as October’s birthstone.
Zodiac: It is also considered to be the zodiac gemstones for Libra and Scorpio.
Chemical Make-up: The chemical make-up of Achroite Tourmaline is Sodium, Lithium and Aluminum Borosilicate elements.
Name Origin: Tourmaline is derived from the Singhalese expression tura mali, which means “stone of many or mixed colors”.
History: 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.
Metaphysical: Tourmalines exhibit piezoelectricy 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!
Magical/Mystical Powers: 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. Achroite Tourmaline is said to be especially effective at helping the wearer achieve a more harmonious relationship with higher beings / Gods.
Availability: Tourmaline is a very widely available gemstone, with deposits occurring the world over. Whilst the occurrence 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. Of the many Tourmaline varieties available, the occurrence of natural Achroite, or colorless Tourmaline, is somewhat rare when compared to the other Tourmaline varieties.
Source Locations: Afghanistan, Africa, Brazil, Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Pakistan, Siberia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the United States (California, Connecticut, Maine and Utah).
Evaluation: Tourmaline (regardless of variety) is rated at 7 – 7.5 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness. This makes Tourmaline suitable to be used in jewelry and will hold up with being worn every day.
Colors: Tourmaline is unmatched by any other gemstone with its huge variety and number of colors. 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 the varying colors there are also known amounts of bi-color, tri-color, multi-color and “Cat’s Eye” Tourmalines. This sets Tourmaline as a gemstone that is available in a color to suit all styles and tastes. Achroite Tourmaline is the colorless, or near colorless Tourmaline variety.
Common Cuts: Tourmaline crystals usually are long and narrow in shape and are more often than not cut into square or rectangular stepped shapes.
Routine Enhancements: Tourmalines are often heat-treated in order to lighten colors and to remove “silk” (a form of natural imperfection / inclusion). Some colored Tourmalines actually transform into other Tourmalines (most commonly the Achroite Tourmaline variety), during this heating process.
Care & Cleaning: Warm, soapy water and a soft brush should be used 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.
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