The gemstone Tourmaline is the official birthstone for October
as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers
in 1912. It also the traditional birthstone for October, the
stone for the Zodiac sign of Leo, and the accepted gem for
the 8th wedding anniversary.
The name Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka)
word tura mali which translates as the stone of mixed colors.
These stones are 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs
scale of hardness.
Tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors from
black to bluish-black, dark brown, yellow, medium brown, blue
to neon blue, lime to dark forest green, red and reddish
purple, yellow, pink, and colorless.
Bi-colored and multicolored tourmaline may be green at
one end and pink at the other, watermelon tourmaline is
green on the outside and pink on the inside. Some stones are
dichroic meaning they appear to change color when viewed from
The most expensive tourmalines are the blue indicolite, green
verdelite and pink rubellite.
Cat's Eye Tourmaline exhibits a "cat;s eye" effect
similar to what is commonly seen in tiger's eye cabochons.
Chrome Tourmaline is colored by chromium resulting in a beautiful
green stone that is often confused with emerald or the tsavorite
garnet. Indicolite is a dark blueish black stone. The Paraiba
tourmaline is a bright neon-blue and Rubellite is a deep reddish
purple stone. Schorl is the name given to black tourmalines
which are the most commonly found tourmalines.
Tourmalines are mined everywhere in the world
including Africa, Afghanistan, Africa, Australia, Brazil,
Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Siberia,
Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the USA, and Zimbabwe.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties:
Ancient legend says that tourmaline is found
in all colors because it traveled along a rainbow and gathered
all the the rainbow's colors.
Tourmaline is believed to strengthen the body
and spirit, especially the nervous system, blood, and lymphs.
It is also thought to inspire creativity and was used extensively
as a tailsman by artists and writers.