HomeGemsBaseOther Popular GemsParaiba Tourmaline

In 1989, Brazilian miners discovered a unique and brightly colored variety of tourmaline in the state of Paraiba. The new type of tourmaline, which soon became known as Paraiba tourmaline, came in unusually vivid blues and greens.  The gemstone world was captivated from the very beginning by the beauty and spirited colors of the Paraiba tourmalines.

In no time at all they achieved great popularity, and today they are among the most sought-after and most expensive gemstones in the world. Prices for loose Paraiba tourmaline gems continue to climb, and have already reached a level which, earlier on, would not have seemed realistic for a tourmaline. Five-figure prices per carat are by no means exceptional for fine, large Paraiba Tourmaline gemstones. Within a very short time, the market positively soaked up the modest supply of raw Paraiba tourmaline, which is thoroughly understandable, since Nature had created a gemstone which was peerless in terms of its color and luminosity. These colors were often described as "neon" since they appeared to glow.  It was determined that the element copper was important in the coloration of the stone, making Paraiba Tourmaline defined as Cuprian or copper-bearing. The demand and excitement for this new Paraiba Tourmaline, which has fetched more than $50,000 per carat, earned more respect for the other colors of tourmaline.  

A recent African discovery from Mozambique has produced beautiful tourmaline colored by copper.  This new source produces material which is virtually indistinguishable from Paraiba Tourmaline from Brazil.  Paraiba Tourmaline gemstones from Mozambique is often less included and found in larger sizes than the Brazilian variety.

Paraiba Tourmaline has become a favorite in jewelry because it is available in so many shades.  There are squarepeartrillioncabochon,roundemerald cutovalcushion, and heart shaped cut Paraiba tourmalines in many color nuances.  Paraiba tourmaline is one of the rarest and most popular tourmalines in the tourmaline gemstone family. 

We are proud to bring you our fine collection of fine Paraiba tourmaline gems, precision cut loose Paraiba tourmaline.  At AJS Gems, you will find a large collection of Fine Quality Wholesale cut loose Paraiba Tourmaline gemstones to help add beauty stability and even a little fun to your life.

Paraiba Tourmaline Wholesale Cut Loose Natural Unheated Brazilian Neon Blue Paraiba Tourmaline Gemstones.


Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Cuprian Paraiba Tourmaline
Wholesale Paraiba Tourmaline Gems
Fancy Paraiba Tourmaline
Fancy Cut ParaibaTourmaline
Fine Paraiba Tourmaline
Vivid ParaibaTourmaline
Paraiba Gemstones
Loose ParaibaTourmaline
Paraiba Gems
Neon Blue ParaibaTourmaline
Loose Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline Gemstones
Vivid Paraiba Tourmaline
Fine Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Copper-Bearing Paraiba Tourmaline
Fancy ParaibaTourmalines


Origin Afghanistan, Brazil, East Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique, Madagascar, U.S.A.
Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Bluish Green, Blue-Green, Intense Blues and Greens, Neon Blue, Neon Green, Electric Blue and Electric Green.
Refractive Index 1.624(+.005, -.005) - 1.644(+.006, -.006)
Chemical Composition (NaCa)(LI,MgFe,Al)9B3Si6(O,OH)31
Hardness 7 - 7.5
Density 3.06 (.05, +.15)
Crystal Structure Trigonal
Anniversary 8th year


Paraiba tourmaline gemstones are excellently suited for wearing and are uncomplicated to care for, since all green tourmalines have ahardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs’ scale.  Its lustre is vitreous, it ranges from transparent to opaque, and is doubly refractive to a high degree. Its cleavage is perfect on the basal plane, breaking with uneven fractures.  Tourmaline has a specific gravity of 3.06, a refractive index of 1.624 - 1.644, and birefringence of 0.020.

The refractive index (RI), measured using a refractometer, is an indication of the amount light rays are bent by a mineral. Birefringence is the difference between the minimum and maximum RI. When birefringence is high, light rays reflect off different parts of the back of a stone causing an apparent doubling of the back facets when viewed through the front facet. 

Most gems have a crystalline structure. Crystals have planes of symmetry and are divided into seven symmetry systems. The number of axes, their length, and their angle to each other determine the system to which a crystal belongs.  Tourmaline belongs to the trigonal crystal system and occurs as long, slender to thick prismatic and columnar crystals that are usually triangular in cross-section. Interestingly, the style of termination at the ends of crystals is asymmetrical, called hemimorphism. Small slender prismatic crystals are common in a fine-grained granite called aplite, often forming radial daisy-like patterns. Tourmaline is distinguished by its three-sided prisms; no other common mineral has three sides. Prisms faces often have heavy vertical striations that produce a rounded triangular effect. Tourmaline is rarely perfectly euhedral. An exception was the fine dravite tourmalines of Yinnietharra, in western Australia. The deposit was discovered in the 1970s, but is now exhausted.


Tourmaline has another feature that attracted the attention of scientists since ancient times.  The philosopher Theophrastus wrote 23 centuries ago that "lyngourion", probably the mineral tourmaline, had the property of attracting straws and bits of wood. This effect, called pyroelectricity, occurs when the crystal is heated, causing it to yield a positive charge at one end of the crystal and a negative charge at the other and attract light weight substances.  This is why tourmaline was called “asshentrekers” or ash drawers by the Dutch during the eighteenth century.  An electrical charge can also be induced in some tourmaline crystals simply by applying pressure to the crystal in the direction of the vertical crystal axis.This effect is known as piezoelectricity, and found many uses in pressure measuring equipment and other scientific applications: Tourmaline was used in the production of pressure sensitive gauges for submarine instrumentation as well as other war equipment.  The pressure gauges that measured the power of the first atomic bomb blasts were made with slices of this gem.

Almost all gem tourmaline is of the Elbaite variety. Elbaite also contains the appealing multicolored crystals. Fine crystals are very expensive, as they make beautiful specimens. They are one of the most prized minerals to a collector.  The varieties Schorl and Dravite are usually opaque and have little gem value. Both are common and not particularly interesting. In the past, mourning jewelry was carved out of black Schorl.  The other forms of tourmaline (Liddicoatite, Uvite, Chromdravite, and Buergerite), are very rare and are only appreciated by serious mineral collectors.


Tourmaline is a gemstone noted for the large and unsurpassed range of colors in which it occurs, and Paraiba tourmalines are precious stones displaying a uniqueness and splendor of those colors. Even among Paraiba tourmalines there is a broad spectrum of color. Some of them are very light, others are so dark that the hue can only be recognized when the stone is held against the light.

According to an ancient Egyptian legend, tourmaline's variety of colors is the result of the fact that on the long way from the Earth’s heart up towards the sun, tourmaline gems traveled along a rainbow and on its way it collected all the colors of the rainbow. This is why nowadays tourmaline is called the "Rainbow gemstone”. The word "rainbow" is used figuratively to describe tourmaline stones. In reality, it is a well recognized fact that tourmaline's diversity in color is not limited to the seven colors of the rainbow. Loose Tourmaline can be colorless to just about any color, hue, or tone known to man, even individual crystals of tourmaline can vary in color along their length or in cross-section. The variations in color along a crystal's length give rise to the bi-color and tri-color green tourmalines. The variation in color in cross section can be concentric, as in the case of watermelon tourmaline, a pink tourmaline core surrounded by a green rind. In fact, tourmaline crystals showing one fancy color only are quite rare. Generally one and the same crystal displays several shades and colors. 


Not only a wide range of colors characterizes this gemstone, Paraiba tourmaline also shows a remarkable dichroism. Depending on the angle of view of a Paraiba tourmaline gemstone, the color will be different or at least show different intensity. The deepest color always appears along the main axis, a fact that the cutter of Paraiba tourmaline has to keep in mind when cutting a Paraiba tourmaline stone. 

Tourmaline is seperated into several varieties, based on color:

Elbaite - green variety of tourmaline (may also refer to multicolored tourmaline)
Rubellite - pink to red variety of tourmaline
Indicolite or Indigolite - light to dark blue variety of tourmaline
Dravite - brown variety of tourmaline
Achroite - colorless variety of tourmaline
Schorl - black variety of tourmaline
Watermelon tourmaline - tourmaline with a red center, surrounded by a green layer (or vice versa)
Verdelite - name used to describe green tourmaline
Siberite - purple variety of tourmaline
Paraiba tourmaline - neon-blue or green variety of tourmaline, colored by copper



Tourmaline is found in elongated crystals that are most economically cut in the long rectangular shape, but Paraiba tourmaline is also commonly found as cushionsovals, roundsemerald cuts, and occasionally trillion or other fancy shapes (including pearsbriolettes,hearts and  marquises).  Fine Paraiba tourmaline crystals that command the highest prices per carat are usually cut into more conservative emerald cuts, ovals, and cushions.

Pink and green tourmaline gemstones from certain localities contain tiny, parallel tubular inclusions, causing them to display a strong cat's eye effect when polished.  Cat's eye tourmalines are cut into the cabochon shape in order to develop and properly display the cat's eye effect.

Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Gemstones
Vivid ParaibaTourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Marquise Cut Paraiba Tourmaline
Cuprian Tourmaline
Fancy ParaibaTourmaline
Neon Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline Gemstones


Some tourmaline gems, especially pink to red colored stones, are altered by irradiation to improve their color. Irradiation is almost impossible to detect in tourmalines, and does not impact the value. Heavily-included tourmalines, such as rubellite and Brazilian paraiba are sometimes clarity enhanced. A clarity-enhanced tourmaline (especially paraiba) is worth much less than a non-treated gem.

Heat treatment can enhance the color of some tourmalines. Some greenish stones can be made deep green, some brownish-red stones can be made red, and some light pink tourmaline gemstones can be made colorless through heating. The color of some light colored stones can also be made into a deeper hue, and dark, transparent dravite can be made lighter.
AJS Gems fully discloses any and all treatments to our gemstones.


Tourmaline was first introduced into Europe from India in 1703, and its name is adapted from "tura mali", its Sinhalese name. Tourmaline is a widely distributed mineral, and its transparent colored varieties, used as gem stones, have attained a considerable popularity. The vogue of the tourmaline has increased since it was discovered in 1820 on Mount Mica near Paris, Maine. The tourmaline has also been found in Massachusetts, California, and New York State. Its principal sources are Ceylon, Burma, Brazil, and the Ural Mountains, Siberia; it is also found in Moravia, Sweden, and the Isle of Elba. Tourmaline occurs in granite, particularly the albitic varieties, schists, and dolomite.

Tourmaline gems have been found throughout history in Africa, the Ural Mountains and other European locations, but some of the most exciting finds have been established in North and South America.


Brazilian Paraiba Paraiba Crystal

Some of the finest Tourmaline in the world is found in igneous rock pegmatite dikes and alluvial deposits or cascalho, located in the area around Virgem da Lapa in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rivers have washed through these deposits scattering stones throughout this region. Some of the mines that have produced the greatest specimens of gem crystal tourmaline and aquamarine are the primary deposits of Araua, Corrego do Urucum, Cruzeiro, Golconda, Jonas, Limoeiro, Medina, Pedra Azul and Xanda.

Almost every color of tourmaline can be found in Brazil, especially in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Bahia. In 1989, miners discovered a unique and brightly colored variety of tourmaline in the state of Paraiba. The new type of tourmaline, which soon became known as paraiba tourmaline, came in unusually vivid blues and greens. These colors were often described as "neon" since they appeared to glow. Brazilian paraiba tourmaline is usually heavily included. Much of the paraiba tourmaline from Brazil actually comes from the neighboring state of Rio Grande do Norte. Material from Rio Grande do Norte is often somewhat less intense in color, but many fine gems are found there. It was determined that the element copper was important in the coloration of the stone. The demand and excitement for this new material, which has fetched more than $50,000 per carat, earned more respect for the other colors of tourmaline.

The Batalha mine (“Mina da Batalha,” pronounced “Bat-tal-ya”) is situated in the Serra das Queimadas mountain range, on the side of Frade Hill (“Serra da Frade”), very near the village of So Jos da Batalha, and about 4.5 km northeast of the town of Salgadinho in the state of Paraiba, Brazil. The full name of the mine is “Mina da Batalha a Nova Era” (“Mine of the Battle of the New Era”) but “Mina da Batalha” is in general use, and some cite the name of the village (So Jose da Batalha) as also being the mine name. The harsh and dry scrubland of the area supports little agriculture, but for decades a small local mining industry has focused on industrial pegmatite minerals, especially tantalite. Access is via a good highway west from the town of Campina Grande through Soledad and Juazeirinho, and from there about 42 km more due west to Salgadinho.

Attractive elbaite was first noticed in the area by Marcus Amaral, a geologist with the Mining and Geology Department of the Federal University of Paraiba in the late 1970’s, but the potential of the deposits was not immediately recognized. In 1982, Jose Pereira of Patos, a local Paraiba garimpeiro and dealer in “black minerals” (columbite-tantalite), found a tantalite specimen containing tiny grains resembling colored sugar. Eventually he offered the specimen to another miner, Heitor Dimas Barbosa, who suspected that the colorful grains (later shown to be cuprian elbaite) might indicate the presence of gem minerals. With Pereira as his guide, Barbosa began exploring the mine dumps and tailings of the area’s industrial pegmatites (normally exploited for tantalum, industrial beryl, kaolinite, quartz and mica). In 1983 they finally relocated the source of the specimens, a small, abandoned manganotantalite prospect. Over the next few years a team of 10 to 16 garimpeiros headed by Barbosa excavated shafts and galleries in the decomposed pegmatite, finding primarily tourmaline of various common shades of green. In August of 1988, however, they encountered strikingly colored “electric” blue and sapphire-blue tourmaline: these were the first of what came to be known as “copper tourmaline,” or “Paraiba tourmaline.”

Barbosa and his associates filed a claim on the deposit in 1988, and formed a mining cooperative (COGASBRA) which they registered with the DNPM (Brazilian National Department of Minerals). Nevertheless, the mining rights were disputed and lengthy litigation ensued, during which time little productive mining activity took place. The controversy was finally resolved in 1998, a consequence of the settlement being that the deposit was broken into three more or less equal pieces, of which Barbosa got one. Heitor and Sergio Barbosa then reactivated their portion of the property. Land adjacent to the mine was also opened up for exploration and mining. By August of 2000, mining was proceeding carefully under the guidance of Heitor Barbosa; two teams of miners had begun working new areas of the pegmatite, and underground fluorescent lighting had just been installed. Barbosa was also constructing facilities to process the old mine tailings, and another group, T.O.E. Minerallo Ltda. (a subsidiary of Treasures of the Earth, a Nevada corporation), had recovered considerable quantities of gem rough by processing alluvial sediments down-slope from the mine. In February of 1999 the T.O.E. group signed a 7.5-year agreement to mine the de Souza property, which includes part of Serra da Frade itself and some of the flat land surrounding the hill where alluvial deposits have developed; the operation has been very successful. Removal and processing of alluvial/eluvial material has also uncovered additional tourmaline-bearing pegmatite veins. The Batalha mine is a labyrinth consisting of shafts 50 to 60 meters in depth connected by several kilometers of hand-dug drifts and adits exploiting the complex system of pegmatite dikes. The narrow tunnels (originally only about 60 x 180 cm, though some have now been significantly enlarged to around 2 meters high and 1.5 meters across) were all worked solely by candlelight, under conditions of poor ventilation, during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, but have been modernized somewhat in recent years.
It was estimated in 1990 that approximately 10,000 carats (2 kg) of rough crystals and cut stones had been produced from the mine before legal difficulties restricted mining activity. Additional pockets were discovered underground in 1993 and 1998, but since then the bulk of production of gem rough has come from the processing of alluvial material.

The Batalha occurrence is situated within a large, well-known pegmatite province containing hundreds of pegmatite bodies that have produced feldspar, quartz, mica and columbite-tantalite. At Batalha the geology consists of a parallel to sub-parallel system of steeply dipping, thoroughly decomposed granitic pegmatite dikes cutting across a hard muscovite-quartzite country rock. This rock unit, known as the Ecuador Formation of the Mid-Proterozoic Serido Group, is part of the Borborema geologic province. The dikes are thought to have formed during the Upper Proterozoic (650–600 ma) Braziliano thermotectonic cycle. Feldspars in the pegmatites have all been completely altered to white, chalky kaolinite. Gem-quality tourmaline crystals are found embedded in this clay, and within small clay-filled pockets in the core zones of the pegmatites. Most tourmaline crystals have been broken by natural tectonic forces, and show moderate to severe etching. Some crystals have also been partially or completely altered to lepidolite. Associated minerals include quartz, lepidolite, schorl, dark green non-cuprian elbaite and Nb-Ta oxides.

The vein-like pegmatite bodies measure 20 to 140 cm in thickness. One area that has been particularly productive of gem cuprian elbaite is known as the “Heitorita trend,” especially at a depth of about 35 meters. The main dikes in the trend are generally referred to by number, one through five.

Other pegmatites in the general area which have been found to contain cuprian elbaite (always of lower quality) plot within a narrow north-northeast-trending band extending for some 90 km. They include the Capoeira pegmatite (where the cuprian elbaite is typically strongly color-zoned pink, blue, purple, green and gray), also known as the Boqueirozinho pegmatite and the CDM or Mulungu mine. However, erroneous localities for cuprian elbaite have also been circulated, apparently to deter and confuse competing interests; these include names such as Salgadinho, the Pedra Bonita spessartine occurrence near Carnaiba dos Dantas, Cajazeiros, Riach do Pinga, Junco do Seridi, Pedra Lavrada, and Serra dos Quintos, none of which have actually produced any cuprian elbaite. Serra dos Quintos, however, should not be confused with the productive Quintos pegmatite, also known as the Wild mine. Traces of copper have also been found in tourmaline from the Gregario pegmatite near Parelhas. The high copper content of the pegmatites was apparently derived from underlying Cu-bearing sediments during chemical mobilization associated with the Brasiliano thermotectonic cycle. Veins containing copper sulfides have been found nearby at Serra Negra, at a site between Parelhas and Pedra Lavrada, at an occurrence near Nova Palmeira, in the scheelite skarns of Currais Novos, and very near the Capoeira/Boqueirozinho pegmatite. Other metallic elements which have also been found locally in pegmatites (U, W, Ta, Sn, Nb, Mn) have been perceived by some authors to be arrayed in broad concentric zones radiating outward from the center of the pegmatite field, the copper-containing tourmaline band being parallel to these zones and therefore presumably genetically related to the core pluton this theory still requires confirmation. 

Batalha-mine cuprian elbaite occurs in a range of rich colors, from yellow-green to emerald-green, blue-green, turquoise-blue, tanzanite-blue, sapphire-blue, “electric” blue, bluish purple, purple, purplish pink, pink and gray—each color valued differently by the gem market. Many individual crystals are concentrically zoned in several colors. High concentrations of copper (1.5 to 2.3 weight % CuO) plus some manganese are responsible for the turquoise-blue color, whereas lower copper (< 0.6 wt.%) in the presence of manganese results in the purple color. Low manganese (< 0.1 wt.%) and high copper produce a green color. Pleochroism is usually distinct, from medium blue to pale greenish blue. The highest concentration of manganese (2.99 wt.% MnO) was found in a greenish gray crystal. Some colors are produced or enhanced by heat treatment, such treatment not always being determinable after the fact. Indices of refraction are typical of elbaite (1.618–1.612 and 1.638–1.646); specific gravity (3.03–3.12) is slightly higher than usual. The crystals are unresponsive to longwave and shortwave ultraviolet light. The X-ray diffraction pattern is closely similar to that of standard elbaite, yielding a unit cell of a = 15.883 and c = 7.111. Numerous yellowish specks have been found included in some crystals; X-ray fluorescence analysis indicated the presence of Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Bi and S, suggesting a complex sulfide. However, Brandstutter and Niedermayr investigated the metallic inclusions noted earlier by others and found them to be native copper; inclusions of black tenorite were also found in elbaite. The copper appears to have formed by epigenetic exsolution from elbaite. Chemically the Batalha cuprian elbaites are typical of other elbaites in their low Ti (< 0.11 wt.% TiO2) and Fe (< 0.34 wt.% Fe2O3) contents and the virtual absence of V and Cr. The high concentration of Cu is, of course, quite unusual. Small amounts of Bi, Pb, Zn and Au were also detected in many specimens: these trace elements apparently have no influence on color. Site-occupancy and charge-balance considerations indicate that the copper and manganese are present in the Y crystallographic site, substituting for aluminum. Therefore the formula can be written as: Na(Li,Al)3(Al,Cu,Mn)6(BO3)Si6)18(OH)4. Heat treatment of the crystals is said to be commonly practiced; the affect is the reduction of Mn3+ to Mn2+, removing the pink and purplish colors to leave a pure turquoise-blue. Heat treatment has no effect on the absorption attributable to copper, although blue and green colors can be influenced by heat treatment because of the presence of trace amounts of Mn. Morphologically the Batalha mine elbaites are roughly trigonal in cross-section but are somewhat irregular in outline. Zoning in some crystals shows that etching has not significantly affected their overall shape, whereas other crystals appear more heavily etched. Terminations, where present, are usually trigonal rhombohedrons or a flat pedion. Terminated crystals, however, are much rarer than broken fragments. One heavily fractured crystal would have measured about 30 cm, had it been recovered intact. Surviving crystals are usually in the 1 to 3-cm size range. Koivula and Kammerling  reported a “specimen quality” crystal (presumably meaning that it had no gem value) weighing 100 grams (about a quarter of a pound). Koivula et al.  reported seeing an exceptional 4.8-gram bicolored crystal (violet-blue to blue-green) with no eye-visible inclusions and with well-formed, striated prism faces. They also reported seeing dark yellowish green crystals with metallic inclusions which were said to have been found below the level where the brightest blue crystals occur; further down only black schorl is said to be found. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has an interesting specimen consisting of fractured and mostly unterminated non-gem-grade crystals of good color embedded in white quartz matrix and showing partial alteration to lepidolite. According to curator Anthony Kampf, several hundred such specimens, purportedly from the Batalha mine, were available in Brazil from Emilio Frois (New Gems Ltda. and Color Gemas company) at his warehouse in Governador Valadares in 2000 and 2001, and some of these later appeared among the stock of other dealers at the 2001 Denver Gem and Mineral Show. These specimens provide systematic collectors and museum curators with an opportunity to acquire study-grade examples of cuprian elbaite at a price well below that of gem-grade crystals. However, it is not at all certain that this material is from the Batalha mine; similar cuprian elbaite specimens sold in Tucson a few years ago came from the Wild mine (the Alto dos Quintos, or just Quintos, pegmatite), owned by Paul Wild of Idar-Oberstein, located about 60 km northeast of Batalha in Rio Grande do Norte state.

Although the area in northeastern Brazil where occurrences of cuprian elbaite have been found is fairly large, none of the localities has produced crystals equal to those found at the Batalha mine. Furthermore, almost all good crystals of any size tend to be shattered, and the remainder are generally embedded, non-gemmy and not of good collector quality. As long as mining continues in the area, the possibility of more good crystals being found exists, but their extremely high gem value probably means that most will continue to be cut as gemstones rather than saved as crystal specimens. Consequently, even very small crystals of good color, form and transparency will probably remain very rare in collections and on the market.

Copper Bearing Tourmaline
Vivid Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Fancy ParaibaTourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline Gemstone
Electric Blue Paraiba Tourmaline
Wholesale Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline Gems
Rare Paraiba Tourmaline Gems
Pear Cut ParaibaTourmalines


Some fine tourmaline material has been produced in the US, with the first discoveries having been made in 1822, in the state of Maine. California became a large producer of loose tourmaline in the early 1900s. The Maine deposits tend to produce tourmaline crystals in raspberry pink-red as well as minty greens. The California tourmaline deposits are known for bright pinks, as well as interesting bicolors. During the early 1900s, Maine and California were the worlds largest producers of gem tourmalines.

The principal source of the best American tourmalines is a mine on Mount Mica at Paris, Maine. Gem tourmalines were discovered on Mount Mica on an autumn day in 1820 by two boys, Elijah L. Hamlin and Ezekiel Holmes, amateur mineralogists. When nearing home from a fatiguing local prospecting expedition, they discovered some gleaming green substance at the root of a tree, and investigation rewarded them with a fine green tourmaline. A snowstorm prevented a further search, but the following spring they returned to their " claim " and secured a number of fine crystals. Tourmalines from Mount Mica are found in pockets in pegmatitic granite, overlaid by mica schist, which has since to some extent been stripped off to facilitate this interesting mineral industry. Black tourmaline, muscovite, and lepidolite are found in this Pine Tree State treasure house.  Tourmalines from this source have included many specimens of rare beauty that have enriched the collections of royalty, wealthy private connoisseurs of precious stones, and of great public museums and educational institutions.

In 1972, the Dutton Mine in Newry, Maine established itself as one of the largest finds on record ever, and for a brief period of time became a world-source of superior quality red and green tourmaline.

Tourmaline Gemstones

In the 1860's, the first expeditions looking for gem and mineral resources into California’s Riverside and San Diego Counties led to the discovery of fine pink tourmaline in the San Diego County.  This discovery coincided with the reign of this gem’s greatest enthusiast in history: Most of the pink tourmaline that was mined at the Stewart Mine went to the Empress Tzu Hsi of the Ch'ing Dynasty and her entourage, who purchased everything they could get and had it exported to China.  The California tourmaline boom ended in 1911 with the death of the Dowager Empress. World War I marked an end to tourmaline mining in the San Diego area until the seventies.


In the late 90s, copper-containing tourmaline was found in Nigeria. The material was generally paler and less saturated than the Brazilian materials, although the material generally was much less included. A more recent African discovery from Mozambique has also produced beautiful tourmaline colored by copper, similar to the Brazilian paraiba.  Mozambique paraiba is often less included and has been found in larger sizes. The Mozambique paraiba material usually is more intensely colored than the Nigerian. There is a significant overlap in color and clarity with Mozambique paraiba and Brazilian paraiba, especially with the material from Rio Grande do Norte. While less expensive than top quality Brazilian paraiba, some Mozambique material sells for well over $5,000 per carat, which still is extremely high compared to other tourmalines.

Another unique variety that is also highly valued is chrome tourmaline, a rare type of dravite tourmaline from Tanzania which occurs in a very rich green color caused by chromium, the same element which causes the green in emerald.


The name tourmaline comes from a Sinhalese word, "tura mali", meaning "mixed colored stones" and was originally applied to an assortment of colored stones consisting mainly of zircons.

The Empress Dowager Tz'u Hsi, the last Empress of China, loved pink tourmaline and bought large quantities for gemstones and carvings from the then new Himalaya Mine, located in San Diego County, California.  The Himalaya Mine is still producing tourmaline today but the Dowager went to rest eternally on a carved tourmaline pillow.

The ability of tourmaline to look like other gemstones led to some confusions.  Many gemstones in the Russian Crown jewels from the 17th Century once thought to be rubies are in fact tourmalines.  In South America, where the majority of such gem-quality material is found, green tourmaline is still referred to as the "Brazilian emerald".  The quantity of such green stones which were mined in the early days of the Portuguese colonization and sent to Portugal as emerald will probably never be known.

The folk-lore of tourmaline tells us that both the introduction of this beautiful and multiphase mineral to the knowledge and appreciation of mankind, and its discovery in America, were due to children. Soon after the year 1700, some children in Holland were playing in a court-yard on a summer day with a few bright-colored stones indifferently given to them by some lapidaries, who evidently had not classified, or invested them with any particular value or significance. The children's keenness of observation revealed that when their bright playthings became heated by the sun's rays, they attracted and held ashes and straws. The children appealed to their parents for enlightenment as to the cause of this mysterious property; but they were unable to explain or to identify the stones, giving them, however, the name of aschentreckers or ash-drawers, which for a long time clung to these tourmalines.

Elbaite is named for the Island of Elba, Italy, where many fine specimens were found, including the famous "Moor's Head Tourmaline".

Tourmaline gemstones are credited with the power to enhance one's understanding, increase self-confidence and amplify one's psychic energies, and aid in concentration and communication.  Conversely, they are said to neutralize negative energies, and dispell fear and grief.  

Tourmalines were believed to be usefull in relaxing the body and the mind, and to help in the treatment of many different diseases such as anxiety, blood poisoning, arthritis, and heart disease.  

Pink Tourmaline is said to inspire love, spirituality and creativity, and to give wisdom and enhance one's willpower.

Watermelon Tourmaline is said to be very effective in helping one to recover from emotional problems.

Tourmaline is the birthstone for October and corresponds to the astrological sign of the Libra.

Paraiba Tourmalines are among the rarest and most sought after gems in the world. Needless to say, they are also one of the most expensive.


Paraiba Tourmalines are a fairly new addition to the world’s suite of precious gemstones. Discovered in 1989, the world was introduced to the neon blue tourmaline gem through the efforts of Heitor Dimas Barbosa, a very ambitious gem miner. Barbosa began his digging efforts in the hills of Brazilian state of Paraiba where he was convinced there was something different waiting to be discovered. After five years of mining the first paraiba tourmaline crystals were unearthed.

Similar discoveries were found in Africa not too long afterwards.

In 2003, Moussa Konate, a gemstone supplier, inadvertently shipped the first Paraiba Tourmalines from Mozambique to the United States.  Repeat orders for the same tourmaline material motivated Konate to dig deeper. He subsequently claimed 300 acres of land around the original mine that supplied his first serendipitous find of the Paraiba.

In 2005, the gem market was introduced to Paraiba Tourmalines originating from Nigeria. The Nigeria Paraiba's were first discovered in 2001 in Oyo, Nigeria.

Fans of the Brazilian Paraiba Tourmalines are cautious about the “Paraiba-ness” of the new gems originating in Africa. However, standard gemological testing and semi-quantitative chemical data analysis cannot distinguish between the Paraiba's originating  from the three countries. Only a spectrometry test, via LA-ICP-MS, was able to reveal the slight chemical differences of the stones from Brazil, Nigeria and Mozambique.

Hype Around The Paraiba

Paraiba Tourmalines are just one of several tourmalines available on the gem market today. Included in the tourmaline family are Rubellites, Indicolites, Pink Tourmaline, Green Tourmaline, and Multicolored or Watermelon Tourmaline.

What makes the Paraiba Tourmaline popular even to the uninitiated jeweler, is its unique glow. This precious stone has a glow that can only be described as “neon” and “electric.”

The glow is attributed to small amounts of copper contained in each gemstone’s chemical composition. Hence, Paraiba Tourmalines are also referred to as Cuprian Tourmalines.  A study by the German Foundation for Gemstone Research indicates that Paraiba Tourmalines have a gold content that is much higher in proportion than that of the earth’s surface. The earth’s crust has a gold content of 0.007 parts per million while Paraiba Tourmalines, contain 8.6 parts per million. Other laboratories have similarly tested for gold and found many Paraiba stones to be negative. Either way, gold or no gold it is copper that gives this gemstone its color.

Paraiba Tourmalines are invariably very expensive, and are rarer than diamonds. A stone can be priced at $5,000 per carat. Some stones are priced as high as $60,000 per carat. Wholesale prices are reported to be at $10,000 per carat for Paraiba stones larger than three carats.

Paraiba Tourmalines are rare because they have, thus far, only been found in copper rich areas such as Brazil, Nigeria and Mozambique.

Mining Paraiba stones is difficult; they are mined mostly by hand with manual tools like wedges and sledge hammers. Dynamite has also been used, but is now discouraged because of the damage it can cause to the crystals.

In Brazil, the Paraiba tourmaline mines are hand excavated, and interconnected tunnels are dug up to sixty meters deep. As if this isn’t laborious enough, paraiba tourmalines in the rough can only be found in small veins that are as thin as pencils. Paraiba tourmalines from Africa are also mined manually, with the process being almost as arduous.

The difficulty mining Paraiba Tourmalines is what makes this gem rare, and expensive.

Paraiba Tourmaline Specifications

Paraiba Tourmalines first became popular because of its spirited blue color.  The copper oxide in this type of Tourmaline has produced aqua, mint green, teals, and violet stones.  They also come in different levels of hues and saturation.

Paraiba Tourmalines from Brazil are very fragmented, they are rarely produced over one carat in size. Their colors range from yellow aqua to deep neon blue.

Paraiba Gems produced in Africa tend to be larger. Many stones over five carats in size have been found there. It is not impossible for a jeweler to obtain a 50 carat Paraiba Tourmaline from this continent.

Because of their larger size, the African Paraiba tourmalines are more uniform in color than their Brazilian counterparts. Those that come from Nigeria are mostly aqua and mint green in color. Paraiba Tourmalines from Mozambique, on the other hand, have the widest range of color; ranging from teal, fuchsia, deep violet, blue, aqua, and mint green.

Brazil’s Obsession With Tourmalines

Aside from soccer, Brazil is also associated with tourmalines; a group of gemstones that come in almost all colors of the rainbow. Before the discovery of the Paraiba tourmalines the other Brazilian tourmalines being produced never had a radiant glow.

The elements responsible for the varied shades and beautiful coloring of the Paraiba variety are attributed to copper, iron, and manganese.  Scientists have found that the Paraiba tourmaline contain a fair amount of copper. The copper content is credited for the Paraiba tourmaline’s splendid and glowing color.

How the copper and manganese interact with one another gives rise to color variety: emerald green, turquoise blue, sky blue, sapphire blue, bluish-violet, indigo, and purple. Different proportions in the mixture of copper and manganese have also yielded pale gray and violet blue Paraiba tourmalines.

A high concentration of copper results in radiant hues of blue, and turquoise. A high concentration of manganese results in violet and red Paraiba tourmalines. Red color in Paraibas can be eliminated through a careful heating technique used by cutters. The process involves a simple heating of the tourmaline at a control rate of temperature increase and the holding of the tourmaline at a proscribed temperature for a certain length of time.  Manganese in the three oxidation state is reduced to Manganese in the two oxidation state which effectively eliminates the reddish hue.  Some cuprian tourmalines from both Brazil and Mozambique do not have to be heated and in fact some of the tourmalines do not have enough Manganese to be a chromophore in any oxidation state.  Unheated Paraiba stones are generally worth more then their treated counterparts.

The green hue in paraiba does not come from copper.  In Rossman’s original paper on color in paraiba he proposes a Titanium/Manganese Intervalence Transfer Reaction for the green in paraiba.  Other gemologists think that iron is the probably chromophore for green in most paraiba.  It can not be Copper since only one of it’s oxidation states is a chromophore in tourmaline and that produces cyan not blue green hue.

Paraiba tourmalines in the rough are not vivid until they are cut. When they are cut, they seem to glow intensely even when there is very little or no light.

Paraiba tourmalines from Brazil are almost always less than one carat – quite small. Almost all of the raw stones are fragmented when  discovered. It is rare to find intact raw stones that are over five grams. Very few crystals exceed 20 grams in weight.

Paraiba tourmalines from Brazil are among the rarest and sought after gems in the world. Needless to say, they are also one of the most expensive.

African Paraiba Tourmalines

Just like their counterparts in Brazil, many Paraiba tourmalines from Africa do not shine until they undergo a careful heating process. African Paraiba tourmalines are often lighter than the ones originating in Brazil.

An ordinary person with an untrained eye will hardly notice the difference between similarly colored Brazilian and African gems. Even gem experts have to make a number of tests to differentiate between the stones. Whether they are from Brazil or Africa, the Paraiba tourmalines have pretty much the same chemical composition and get their color from copper and manganese.

Who are we?

The Geohavens name is an assurance of timeless beauty, distinct quality and uncompromising value. The Company spares no effort in sourcing from the farthest markets and the deepest mines in order to unearth the most attractive gems.

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