Gemology 101: Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba Tourmaline

Gemology 101: Paraiba Tourmaline

As someone just starting to build their jewelry and gem collection, you’ll likely come across a lot of terms that you’re not very familiar with, especially terms that refer to certain gemstones. After all, the world of gemology is a lot broader than your typical diamonds, sapphires and rubies. In fact, did you know that there are roughly about 200 different types of natural gemstones in
the world?

And one gem that deserves more of your attention? Paraiba tourmaline. This gorgeous blue-green gemstone that’s a relative newcomer to the industry is making huge waves in the haute couture jewelry scene.  Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Paraiba Tourmaline?

Paraiba tourmaline is a type of tourmaline, a semi-precious gemstone, that was first discovered in Paraiba, Brazil (where it receives its name, as you could probably guess). Only recently discovered, in the 1980s, these stones often have a blue-green hue, with intense coloration derived from their
copper content.

In some instances, paraiba tourmaline can fetch prices as high as six figures per carat, with most gemstones only weighing in at a fraction over a carat; paraiba tourmaline stones weighing in at more than two carats is a rare occurrence, particularly when that paraiba tourmaline is sourced from Brazil.

Unlike other gemstones, paraiba tourmaline receives quite a lot of leeway when it comes to inclusions. Whereas rubies or emeralds may be devalued for a large number of inclusions or flaws, paraiba tourmaline is valued primarily only on its color and you may find that some jewelers do not devalue a stone based on its inclusions alone.

Paraiba tourmaline is very rare and, as such, comes at a very high valuation. But the high valuation isn’t just due to the rarity. This high value can also be traced to paraiba tourmaline’s richer, deeper colors, and the overall density of paraiba tourmaline within this particular region in Brazil.

Paraiba Tourmaline

How Do you Identify a
Paraiba Tourmaline Gemstone?

Paraiba Tourmaline

As mentioned, paraiba tourmaline gemstones are usually on the small side. Most are green or blue, though some have been found in pink or purple hues (though this is very rare). Even in cases where a violet or purple stone is found, a heating treatment process can be used to change the color to the characteristic blue.

When identifying a paraiba tourmaline stone, you’ll want to look for green hues within the faceted gemstone; these green flashes, often found within a lighter, blue body, are evidence of the gemstone’s copper content.

Additionally, if you hold a paraiba tourmaline up to a bright light, you’ll often see bright spots within the faceted gemstone; as paraiba tourmaline is known for its high brilliance, you’ll likewise be able to see its sparkles even in dim lights.

Are Paraiba Tourmaline Found Anywhere Else Other Than Brazil?

While paraiba tourmaline are named for the region in Brazil from where they were originally sourced, they have been found elsewhere in the world.

In 2000, a deposit of copper-colored tourmalines was also discovered in Nigeria, and then later in Mozambique. These stones from Africa are not known to have quite the amount of saturation as is found in the stones sourced from Brazil. However, the hues are similar enough in color that these Nigerian gemstones have also received the distinction of the paraiba tourmaline name — but not without
a bit of controversy.

According to the International Gem Society, many in the industry initially wanted to create a distinction between the original, Brazilian paraiba tourmaline and those discovered in Africa. However, much of the stones were quickly mixed in with their predecessors, making it near-impossible at this point to distinguish between the two. In fact, even with advanced lab testing, it can be difficult for experts to discern which of the paraiba tourmaline gemstones were sourced from Brazil and which were sourced from Africa.

How Does Paraiba Tourmaline
Compare to Other Types of Tourmaline?

Paraiba tourmaline is far more expensive than other types of tourmaline, and for good reason. These stones are incredibly rare and unusual, with higher color saturation than you’ll find in many other types of tourmaline. 

What Kind of Jewelry is
Paraiba Tourmaline Used In?

Typically, paraiba tourmaline gemstones are custom cut, due to the high value. Typically, you’ll find these gemstones in brilliant cuts, including pear and oval cuts. Additionally, gemstones are usually cut into no larger a size than one carat. If you do, though, find a larger cut gemstone, you may be surprised to see that the larger stone is more affordable than a smaller paraiba tourmaline. This is because, when it comes to pricing, color is the primary deciding factor. 

You can find paraiba tourmaline used in a variety of settings and types of jewelry, from rings to necklaces. You can currently find paraiba tourmaline pieces from designers such as Kat Florence, Chopard, Coomi, Marco Bicego, Ana Khouri, Harry Winston, Oscar Heyman, Piaget, Gucci and Dior. 

How Do You Take Care of a Paraiba Tourmaline?

If you’re lucky enough to own a paraiba tourmaline, you’ll want to be sure to take good care of this rare and very valuable gemstone. Only work with a trusted jeweler who has experience in caring for
such materials. 

Cleaning paraiba tourmaline via vibrating or heating, or via ultrasonic or steam cleaners, can permanently damage or even shatter the gemstone. The best way to go about cleaning a paraiba tourmaline gemstone is via a mild detergent, warm water and a soft brush. 

We’re Here to Help

10 Steps On How To Start Your Fine Jewelry Collection

Keep your eyes peeled. Now that you know about the luxurious and one-of-a-kind gemstone that is the paraiba tourmaline, you’re likely to see them everywhere, from the Sotheby’s catalogue to draped around the necks and wrists of your favorite celebrities, or sported on the pages of your favorite fashion magazines. 

Want to add one of these gemstones to your collection? The team at Yamron is here to help. We’d love to assist you with building out your dream jewelry collection, whether that means hunting down the perfect paraiba tourmaline piece or helping you find a similar gemstone to best fit your current collections and needs. 

Talk with one of our luxury jewelry experts to get started, by giving us a call at 239-592-7707 or an email at [email protected] If you’re in Naples, stop by our showroom to speak with one of our team members in person.

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