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.
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.
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.
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, versus than across it. This optical property is called “pleochroism,” which means they appear different colors from different directions—so the cut is critical.
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—from the common, inexpensive schorl to the highly-valued Paraíba—the price of tourmaline gemstones can vary greatly.
Find a jeweler near you for the right tourmaline birthstone jewelry for you.