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Article: Tourmaline


General Information about Tourmaline

  • Tourmaline is a mineral that belongs to the tourmaline group.
  • It is a complex borosilicate mineral with a wide range of colors.
  • Tourmaline is classified into different species based on its chemical composition.
  • It is commonly found in granite and pegmatite rocks.
  • Tourmaline is widely used in jewelry due to its beauty and variety of colors.
  • Tourmaline is piezoelectric, meaning it can generate an electric charge when subjected to pressure.
  • It exhibits strong pleochroism, meaning it can show different colors when viewed from different angles.
  • Tourmaline has a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for everyday wear.
  • It has a high refractive index, giving it excellent brilliance and sparkle.
  • Tourmaline can be found in various crystal habits, including prismatic, columnar, and bladed forms.

Types and Colors of Tourmaline

  • The most common types of tourmaline are schorl, dravite, elbaite, and uvite.
  • Tourmaline can occur in a wide range of colors, including black, brown, green, blue, pink, and watermelon (bi-color).
  • Some tourmaline varieties, such as Paraiba tourmaline, are highly valued for their intense blue or green colors.
  • Color zoning is common in tourmaline crystals, resulting in bands or sectors of different colors.
  • Tourmaline can also exhibit cat's eye and star effects, adding to its desirability.

Geological Occurrence of Tourmaline

  • Tourmaline is found in many countries worldwide, including Brazil, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and the United States.
  • It is commonly associated with pegmatite veins and granitic rocks.
  • Tourmaline can also be found in metamorphic rocks, such as schist and gneiss.
  • Gem-quality tourmaline is often found in alluvial deposits, where it has been transported by water.
  • Certain geological conditions, such as the presence of boron and lithium, favor the formation of tourmaline.

Uses and Significance of Tourmaline

  • Tourmaline is highly valued as a gemstone and is used in various types of jewelry, including rings, earrings, and necklaces.
  • It is believed to have metaphysical properties, such as promoting healing, protection, and emotional balance.
  • Tourmaline is used in the field of science and technology, particularly in piezoelectric sensors and electronic devices.
  • Black tourmaline, also known as schorl, is used for its grounding and protective properties in crystal healing.
  • Tourmaline is also used in the creation of artworks, sculptures, and decorative objects.

Other Facts about Tourmaline

  • Tourmaline is found in a wide variety of colors, ranging from black to colorless, and various shades in-between.
  • The main tourmaline producing countries include Brazil, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Mozambique.
  • Brazil is the largest producer of tourmaline.
  • The name "tourmaline" is derived from the Sinhalese word "tōramalli," which means carnelian gemstones.
  • Heat treatment can alter the color of tourmaline, especially pink to red stones.
  • Tourmalines are difficult to detect for irradiation, making it hard to determine if a stone has been treated.

Tourmaline Data Sources

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