October Birthstones

How to Buy Tourmaline

No two tourmaline gemstones are exactly alike, which makes this a one-of-a-kind gift for any individual—especially someone celebrating an October birthday or an eighth wedding anniversary.

With a wide variety of colors, qualities, and sources available, there’s tourmaline jewelry to suit a range of styles and budgets. Like diamonds, tourmaline is evaluated by the criteria of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. 

Color
In general, darker toned tourmaline that appears black is priced lower than brightly colored material. Rubellite tourmaline, in shades of pink or red, is one of this gemstone’s most desirable colors.

Green and blue tourmaline are also popular, though the most striking shades of these colors come from Brazil’s exotic and rare Paraíba tourmaline. Prices can run $10,000 per carat, making this the most valuable variety of tourmaline.

Clarity
Inclusions are common in tourmaline, because liquid inclusions and crystals can get trapped during formation. It’s not uncommon for red or pink tourmaline to display visible inclusions, but inclusions can lower the value of other colors, depending on their visual impact.

Some tourmaline material, especially rubellite, undergoes heat treatment to improve color. Other tourmaline is clarity-enhanced to remove inclusions, which can significantly lower the value.

Cut
Because tourmaline forms in slender, columnar crystals, many finished gemstones have long, irregular shapes.

Tourmaline gemstones tend to absorb light differently down the length of a crystal, compared to light going across it. This optical property is called “pleochroism,” which means the gemstones appear different colors from different directions—so the cut is critical.

Carat Weight
Tourmaline can come in a range of sizes, but Paraíba tourmaline is rare in sizes larger than one carat. But with these stones, color is more highly valued than size, so a small, brightly colored gemstone is preferred over a large, dark one.

With such a wide range of tourmaline options available, there is a gemstone for everyone.

Find a jeweler near you to help choose the best tourmaline birthstone jewelry that fits your preferences. 

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