Examples of Cats-Eye Tourmaline- photo via gia.edu
Tourmalines come in a wide variety of colors- one of the widest of any known gem; traditionally, pink is used to represent October (which is cool because October is breast cancer awareness month!), but you could choose any color variety of tourmaline! To learn more, you need only scroll down: Fun facts: Tourmalines come from Pegmatites- the last of the magma to cool. Pegmatites are not common, but can be found all over the world; however, not all Pegmatites produce Tourmalines. Localities: In the United States, Tourmalines can be found in Maine and California. Other locations include Brazil, Nigeria, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Russia. Moh's: 7 to 7.5 Color: Rubellite is the gem name for pink Tourmaline. Pinks can be colored by one of two methods: trace element-manganese or color centers that have been exposed to radiation- naturally or man-induced. Scientists are still discovering the causes of colors in tourmaline! The most valuable colors are vivid and strongly saturated with no dark areas. Clarity: Because Tourmalines grow in a liquid rich environment, liquid inclusions are fairly common, especially running parallel to the length of the crystal. If cut in a cabochon, sometimes these inclusions can create a cats-eye effect. Shapes: Tourmalines can be cut in a variety of shapes, but much of cut is based on the rough's color. Because the rough is always shaped as a 3 sided cylinder, the cutters have to cut it either parallel with the length or perpendicular to the length. To darken paler colors, cutters orient the top of the gem perpendicular to the length; to lighten darker colored stones, cutters cut parallel to the length. Size: Larger sizes, especially in higher demand colors are rarer to find so prices tend to rise exponentially. Again, cutters are limited because of the rough's elongated shape. Smaller, calibrated sizes are easier to find, especially with good clarity. Treatments: Tourmalines are not typically treated, so you see the gem just as nature created it.