Tourmaline is the name of a group of related gemstones (a long list of -ites) that comes in a wide variety of colours. When the Dutch first imported this gemstone in the 18th century, they named it Turamali because they thought this Sinhalese (Sri Lankan) word meant "stone of mixed colours".

Tourmaline has the ability to become electrically charged when it has been heated or when pressure is applied to it which causes it to attract dust. Its pyro- and piezoelectical properties were exploited by the Dutch to clean their smoking pipes by pulling out the ash! Therefore this means we have to clean our tourmaline jewelry more often than the other gemstones.

The most prized colours are green and deep pink. Watermelon tourmaline, a gorgeous bi -coloured version is not surprisingly, very pricey as is the rare vivid teal paraiba tourmaline. But there are many types of this gemstone well within reach of ordinary jewelry makers like us. This beautiful wire work pendant using gradations of the different colours of tourmaline is the work of the Finnish jewelry designer Helmetti. This inspirational design shows a confident approach to using many colours. You can see the original Flickr photo here and ogle the other designs on Helmetti's blog.

Walter Schuman (2000)Gemstones of the World, Revised Edition
Wikipedia : Tourmaline
The Beading Gem's Journal
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