PHYSICAL AND OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF TOURMALINE
Tourmaline refers to a group of minerals belonging to Silicates, more exactly to cyclosilicates, of complex and highly variable composition. The formula can be presented as: (Ca, Na) (Al, Fe, Li, and Mg) 3 B3 Al3 (Al3, Si6, O27). Tourmalines can be transparent, translucent, and even opaque. Their brilliance is glassy and their break is unequal, conchoidal. Their crystalline system is rhombohedral; they are found in the form of six-sided prismatic crystals, granular aggregates, compact, fibrous and radiating, like the characteristic “tourmaline suns”. Tourmaline has a hardness of 7 to 7.5. It has a strong pleochroism, that is to say that its color changes according to the angle of observation and reveals a lighter shade and a shade darker.
There are many colors of tourmaline, some frequent as the variety elbaite (colorless, blue, green, pink) and others much rarer as the variety Watermelon (pink in the center, green on the edges, like watermelon …). Here are some examples:
The black tourmaline, very bright, is opaque and sometimes has blue, green or brown shades.
Rubellite, as the name suggests, is bright and deep red.
The Afghan tourmaline of the Kunar Valley is peachy and soft green.
The indocolite is a deep blue, while the Brazilian Tourmaline Paraiba presents a range of tones of bright blue, even electric!
Pink tourmaline looks like pink sapphire but at a much more affordable price. Others are yellow, orange, and even gray…
THE MAIN DEPOSITS OF TOURMALINE
The pegmatites are rocks of magmatic origin, which are formed from the liquid residues of the formation of the neighboring granite. Their composition is therefore close to that of granite, but their richness in water allowed a good diffusion of minerals and favored the appearance of large crystals. This is how many gems appear, and among them, tourmaline … It is found in the form of rods triangular base, convex faces.
The majority of tourmaline comes today from Brazil. But depending on the colors and varieties, these stones can come from Afghanistan (indicolites), India, Madagascar (rubellites), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Burma, Russia (sibérites) or Thailand. There are even some crystals in France but they are not used in jewelry.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR TOURMALINE?
The colors, shapes and prices of tourmaline are very varied, it is therefore necessary above all to rely on his tastes to choose his tourmaline jewelry. The intensity of its hue and the quality of its size are the main criteria of choice.
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Tourmaline was not too hard, is one of the gems easy enough to carve; however, it requires great skill in finding the growth axis and taking into account the strong pleochroism of the stone. The color often varies inside the crystal itself. All the art of the lapidary is therefore to choose the right place and common sense to carve, the shape that will best highlight the beautiful colors of tourmaline. Thus, for example, the table should be parallel to the main axis for dark stones, and perpendicular to lighter stones. The tourmaline cat’s eye, she is cut in simple cabochon, whose base is parallel to the fibers, to bring out its shimmer.
METALS ASSOCIATED WITH JEWELERY TOURMALINE
The lightest tourmalines, as well as the smaller ones, are preferably associated with discrete metals such as white gold or silver, even pink gold, which will allow them to freely express their brilliance and delicate nuances. The others, more intense or larger, also go very well with yellow gold or black gold.
STORIES AND LEGENDS AROUND TOURMALINE
The word “tourmaline” comes from the Sinhalese “thuramali”, which means “stone with mixed colors” and which indicates all the stones whose name was not known. What a beautiful name for a stone arrived on Earth crossing a rainbow, imbued with all its colors, as the Egyptians believed!
Known in Europe since the early eighteenth century, it was identified by the naturalist Buffon in 1759. The Empress of China Tzu Hsi, who ruled from 1860 to 1908, adored pink tourmaline and reserved the entire production of the Stewart Mine, Southern California!
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Tourmaline has piezoelectric properties, that is, it charges electrically under stress (pressure). It is also pyroelectric, which means that it charges static electricity at its ends when it is heated. It is also called Ceylon magnet. This is why it is used in hair straighteners, whose purpose is to remove the static electricity that makes it frizz…
Its presence in the soil is sometimes the precursor to the formation of a gold deposit.
The tender pink tourmaline is often offered, mounted on a ring, on Valentine’s Day.
VIRTUES AND BENEFITS OF TOURMALINE
It is undoubtedly its electrical properties that explain its use in geobiology. Tourmaline is reputedly protective of habitats against bad waves, whether technological origin (wifi network, mobile phones …) or natural, as the harmful areas of the Hartmann network, the electromagnetic grid that would cover the Earth.
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The properties attributed to tourmaline vary according to the type of gem. The black tourmaline would be particularly effective, placed at the four corners of a house, to protect it from a geobiological point of view. It would strengthen the muscles, especially the heart. The “watermelon” version would be effective against emotional problems. Rubellite would help to keep the liver healthy; it would also protect the lymph and joints, not to mention the circulatory system. The blue tourmaline has beneficial effects on the glands like the thyroid, while the green concentrates its benefits on the blood problems (anemia, poisonings).
ASTROLOGICAL CORRESPONDENCE OF TOURMALINE
Tourmaline is associated with different astrological signs depending on its color. Thus, Aries will be helped by green tourmaline; black, too, but she also has a good relationship with Scorpio. As for pink tourmaline, it keeps these two associations but adds an affinity with Libra. Tourmaline is the 52nd wedding anniversary, and it’s the birthstone of October’s children.