If opal doesn’t take your fancy, why not consider tourmaline? It’s the newer version of October’s birthstone and is available in a wide variety of colours. Considered a semi-precious gemstone, tourmaline is a semi-occurs in various shades of almost every hue.

Tourmaline is mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Mozambique, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S.A. Paraíba tourmaline is a vividly colored purplish or greenish blue variety found in Paraíba, Brazil.

It’s the most recently discovered type of tourmaline and, because of its desirably intense colors, it’s one of the most valuable. Scientists found that the intense colours in Paraíba tourmalines were caused by trace amounts of copper, imparting a unique colour to the gem. In the early 2000s, further Paraíba-type copper-bearing deposits were also discovered in Mozambique and Nigeria.

October birthstone tourmaline

Rough tourmaline crystals exhibiting a range of colours.

Other common crystal colours include chrome (green), cat’s eye (striped brown),), schorl (black), dravite (yellows and browns) and watermelon (green on the outside and pink on the inside). Because of the large range in colour variations, the gem is often confused with other gemstones. Red tourmaline (rubellite) is often confused with ruby and green tourmalines have been confused with emerald.

Watermelon tourmaline slices

Polished slices of watermelon tourmaline showing the distinctive green and pink colouring.

While plenty of tourmaline is mined around the world, it’s rare to find fine gem-quality crystals in bright colors. This range of material means that the price of gems can vary almost as much as the colour.

Tourmalines display pleochroism, meaning their color changes when viewed at different angles. In some crystals, this effect is hardly noticeable, while in others it is strongly apparent.

With a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on Moh’s hardness scale, tourmaline is a relatively resistant gemstone and is suitable for setting in all forms of jewellery. Like many gemstones, it’s best cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft brush.

Katannuta Diamonds has extensive supplies of all colours of this gorgeous birthstone, in virtually all shapes and sizes, ready for setting in your ideal piece of jewellery. Contact us today to set a private appointment to discuss your jewellery requirements.