If you are fortunate enough to have a birthday in October, then you are blessed by having tourmaline as your birthstone (the other October birthstone is the equally colourful opal). Tourmaline has a kaleidoscopic range of colours that range from distinctive teal blues and forest greens to gorgeous pinks, reds and violets. Even more exotic are the stunning bi-coloured tourmalines, of which watermelon tourmaline is most sort-after. Due to the comprehensive range of brilliant colours, tourmaline is undoubtedly one of our favourite gems to work with. Image courtesy of GIA


Tourmaline wasn't recognised as a gemstone species until the 1800s. Before the mineral was analysed as a separate mineral family, it was mistaken for many different gems due to its diversity of colours. The name tourmaline is derived from the Sinhalese wordturmali,which translates as “mixed gemstones of unproven identities. For example, the Caesar's Ruby pendant in the Russian Crown jewels is actually a tourmaline! King Gustav III of Sweden gifted this pendant to Empress Catherine II of Russia, in the 1700s. It is a 52-carat Rubellite tourmaline shaped as a berry, complete with gold and enamel leaves.

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