This month we are celebrating Tourmaline, the October Birthstone.Egyptian legend maintains that during its formation, Tourmaline passed over a rainbow as it made its journey from the Earth’s center which led to it assuming the seven colors of the rainbow. Indeed, Tourmalines are mined in a vast array of colors; the widest range of colors of any gemstone in the gem kingdom with virtually every color represented; even bi-colors and tri-colors.
“Tourmaline” is a term derived from the Singhalese words 'tura mali' meaning 'a stone with mixed colors'. Being dichotic, tourmaline has the ability to subtly shift its color depending on the light source as it changes from natural to artificial. Its diversity suits all moods, which is possibly why in metaphysics it is regarded as the gem crystal of Love & Friendship.
Tourmaline has many remarkable qualities but one of the most interesting physical attributes of the gem type is that it has the ability to become magnetic under certain conditions, namely under heat or pressure. When heat is applied to Tourmaline it becomes it to be magnetic, a phenomenon known scientifically as Pryoelectric. Similarly, applying pressure to it achieves the same effect (Piezoelectric).
In the gem kingdom, stones which possess a modicum of multicoloring are revered for their beauty and rarity. Tourmaline is one of the most versatile gemstone in this regard and ‘Watermelon Tourmaline’ is much sought after by collectors. These beautiful stones show both red and green colors (this could be a red center and a green surrounding, or a green center with a red surrounding). As a gem, the Watermelon Tourmaline is usually green from one end turning red on the other.
Tourmaline producers include Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Burma, Sri Lanka and the USA. In Africa, the main producers are Congo, Madagascar, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria, Malawi and most recently Kenya. If you were born in October you are fortunate indeed to have such a stunning and versatile gemstone as your birthstone. Enjoy!
Further Reading on Tourmaline
TOURMALINE BUYING GUIDE