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Tourmaline can come in an amazing array of colours. The reason being, according to myth is that it passed a rainbow on its way up from the centre of the Earth. It is no wonder then that it is referred to as "gemstone of the rainbow"
The word tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word turamali which means "stone attracting ash".
What's in a name?
If you plan on buying green tourmaline gemstone jewellery, then there are a couple of confusing facts that you need to take note of. Green tourmalines are named either Brazilian or African, however this does not automatically mean that it has been mined there. Instead it refers to the colour. It used to be the case that bottle-green tourmalines only came from Brazil and blue-green tourmalines came from Africa. This is no longer the case, however they are still referred to as Brazilian or African, even if this is not where they were mined. Brazilian tourmalines are also called Verdelite.
The green colour actually comes from other materials which are found in trace amounts. For instance, you may come across "Chromium-Tourmaline" which is a rare emerald-coloured tourmaline which has traces of Vanadium and Chromium and is found in Tanzania.
Green tourmaline stones can be found in a number of locations throughout the world including Afghanistan, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Pakistan and are not rare. However finding good quality large stones are very rare and the price difference between large stones and small stones can be a lot more than you may expect compared to other gemstones.
As well as being a very beautiful stone, scientist are amazed by its "pyro-electricity" properties. What does that mean? Pryo comes from the Greek meaning "fire". If this gem is heated it becomes electrically charged. When the stone is cooled it has a positive charge at one end and a negative charge at the other.
Tourmaline also shares an interesting property with rock crystal. The stone is put under pressure to charge, when the pressure is removed the charge changes and the stone begins to oscillate.
Green tourmaline is the second most expensive after blue indicolite. The rarest colour of tourmaline is colourless however it is also the cheapest to buy.