The Tourmaline Alternate Birthstone for October

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       The Tourmaline must have been well known in very early times for it is found in many places in both the old world and the new, yet, in history we find no references to gems that can definitely be classified under this name.

       The name tourmaline is derived from the Ceylonese word turamali and was first employed when a Dutch ship brought a parcel of the stones to Amsterdam from Ceylon in 1703. Prior to this time, however, (about 1650), green tourmalines had been discovered in Brazil and the stones were introduced to Europe as ”Brazilian emeralds.” They were widely accepted as a variety of true emerald, a fact which shows how ignorant of the character of gemstones the people of that time were, for in the nature of their structure the tourmaline and the emerald are not at all similar. They show, however, about the same degree of hardness, and good, green tourmalines more nearly approach the emerald in color than any other stone, being slightly bluer or slightly more yellow.

       Of the tourmalines which are marketed today, Brazil and Russia produce the best varieties, although many fine specimens are found in the United States in Maine and California.

       While the rich, deep green stone is the one that is most highly prized, the tourmaline, in its variety of color, is unsurpassed, for it is found in green, pink, blue, lilac, yellow, and myriad intermediate tints and hues. The red and blue gems are sometimes sold as ”Brazilian rubies” and ”Brazilian sapphires.”

       In recent years the rich color qualities of the tourmaline have made this stone very popular, giving it one of the foremost places among the semi-precious gems. It lends itself to almost every type of cutting and is used singly or in conjunction with different precious or semi-precious stones in some of the most attractive gem-pieces. Wood

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