Tourmaline - meaning, history, style and care tips
Welcome to the Irit Sorokin Design blog! In this space you can look forward to learning about my jewelry making process, my inspirations and some of the materials I use in my handmade jewelry, created in Vancouver, Canada. I often use natural gems and metals in my work and love sharing about the meaning of those gems and the individual journey that goes into each handmade piece of jewelry.
Tourmaline is one of the birthstones for October. Tourmaline is a magical gemstone that comes in a rainbow of colors, the widest range of any gemstone.
In fact, the name “tourmaline” comes from “tura mali” in the Sinhalese language from Sri Lanka, which means “stone of many colors.” In the past, tourmaline was sometimes misidentified as other gemstones because the colors range so widely.
Physical properties Tourmaline is part of the silicate mineral group. The shape of the crystals range from longer, thinner prisms to more thick columns. Depending on the amount of different minerals found in the gemstones, their color will change. For example, tourmaline stones which are high in magnesium will be more orange or brown.
Because the color of the stone is dependent on the presence of minerals, tourmalines are commonly bi- or even multi-colored, a beautiful feature not found in many other gemstones. Some tourmaline gemstones, depending on mineral deposits in the stone, can also be magnetic.
Healing & Meaning Tourmaline is believed to have a number of beneficial and healing properties. It is believed tourmaline can build confidence, clear the mind of doubt, and stimulate creativity. It is said that William Shakespeare kept a small collection of tourmaline stones at hand when working to stave off writer’s block.
Tourmaline also has positive benefits for anyone recovering from heartbreak, as the gemstone is believed to help disperse and alleviate emotional pain, opening the heart again to love.
Tourmaline In History
Brazil and Sri Lanka are two countries with historically significant tourmaline deposits. Since the 1500s, tourmaline has been mined in Brazil and Sri Lanka, and traded around the globe. In the early 1890’s, tourmaline was discovered in America, both in California and Maine.
The deep, almost emerald green of the tourmaline from Maine was an exciting find for American gemologist George F. Kunz. Although there has been no history of Tiffany & Co ever using tourmaline, Kunz convinced the jewelry company of the gemstone’s merritts, which resulted in huge popularity for the stone in the early 1900’s.
Kunz and Tiffany’s believed, as many jewelers still do today, that the wide range of color of tourmaline presents many exciting design opportunities.
While green tourmaline was being mined in Maine, California became famous for its brilliant, flamingo pink tourmaline. This pink tourmaline became a particular favorite of China’s last Empress, the Empress Dowager Tzu-hsi. The Empress was so obsessed with this particular color of tourmaline that she purchased nearly all of the pink tourmaline being mined from deposits in San Diego County.
The Empress had numerous tourmaline pieces but arguably the most famous was a carved tourmaline pillow. After her death in 1908, the Empress was laid to rest with her head on the pink gemstone pillow. Imperial China was such a big purchaser of tourmaline that when the Imperial government collapsed in 1912, tourmaline sales in California were drastically impacted.
Style Tips for Tourmaline jewelry
Given the wide range of colors exhibited by tourmaline gemstones, a tourmaline piece can be found to suit any complexion or wardrobe palette. One of the most interesting style elements of tourmaline jewelry comes from embracing the stone’s natural, angular, crystalline shape. Tourmaline can be cut and highly polished as well, but the stone can be particularly striking when its natural texture and shape are showcased.
Care and Cleaning for Tourmaline jewelry
Tourmaline is quite a hard gemstone so it is best to store it wrapped or away from other softer, more vulnerable pieces of jewelry. Tourmaline is unlikely to be damaged unless by a significant blow, but it can be sensitive to salt, so wearing tourmaline jewelry in the ocean or a salt water pool should be avoided. Otherwise, tourmaline can be gently cleaned with mild soap and a soft cloth or brush.
There are often unique and beautiful jewelry made with Tourmaline in my online store, it is a beautiful and classic to create handmade jewelry with. Shop all Tourmaline pieces in my online store and get your very own Tourmaline jewelry shipped right to your door.
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