Scarlett Willow Designs

Jewellery is like a biography ~ a story that tells the many chapters of our life

Gemstone of the Week!

Scarlett Willow DesignsComment

I haven't done one of these for some time which is very remiss of me!  I've chosen such a beautiful gem for this week and it was only discovered in 1989 in Brazil.  It is unusual in that it is blue/green and appears to have neon properties, discovered to be the copper and manganese content.

Paraiba tourmaline created such a stir when it debuted at theTuscon gem show and top specimens sold for over $3000 a carat!  The demand for this stunning gemstone meant that supply could't keep up.  In 2001, a similar blue/green tourmaline was discovered in Nigeria although the colour saturation was not as good as those found in Brazil.  In Mozambique in 2005, another blue-green tourmaline was found with a similar colour saturation to the Brazilian ones.....and this is where a debate began within the gemmological world ~ should all the blue/green tourmaline found in Africa as well as Brazil be termed as "Paraiba"?  Paraiba is a state in Brazil so some thought that it should only apply to the Brazilian gemstones, even though the African gems were identical in chemical make-up.  In 2006, the LMHC (Laboratory Manual Harmonization Commitee) decided that all of these gemstones can be called "paraiba" and so can come from Brazil, Mozambique and Nigeria, as well as from other places that in the future may find copper-containing tourmaline.

Paraiba tourmaline is an incredibly rare gemstone.  For every 10,000 diamonds, only 1 paraiba tourmaline is mined and finding a good quality Brazilian paraiba over over 3 carats is virtually unheard of.  Do you remember me telling you that these gemstones were fetching $3000 a carat when they first hit the scene?  Now they can command over $10,000 a carat!  This truly is an exceptional gemstone.