Foxfire Jewelers The Creative Custom Jewelry Studio since 1985

2250 North Coast Highway Newport Oregon 97365

(541) 265-RING    (541) 265-7464


The gem Tourmaline gets its name from the ancient Sinhalese word "Turmali" which means multi- colored gems. This is because Tourmaline occurs in virtually every color of the spectrum. Some examples even have multiple colors within the same stone, the result of changing conditions during its formation. The most popular colors of Tourmaline are green, red, and pink.

Although mentioned as far back as Pliny's Natural History in the first century (it was then called Lychnis) Tourmaline has often been the victim of misidentification. Finds of green Tourmaline brought back from the New World were sold in Europe as "Brazilian Emerald" until the realization that it had a property known as pyroelectricity. Pyroelectricity is a legitimate 'magical' property. When gently heated, Tourmaline generates a static electrical charge which attracts dust and other lightweight objects.

Because of its vivid colors and relatively affordable cost, this gemstone is a popular choice for fine jewelry of all kinds. It is found mostly in Brazil and Afghanistan, but also in the USA, Burma, and India. Some names given to tourmaline's colors include:

Chrome Tourmaline: An intense, often dark green owing to the presence of chromium in the stone.
Indicolite: From the word Indigo, a deep blue to blue-green color.

Rubellite: Pink to deep red, from the Latin root work "Rub" for red.

Watermelon Tourmaline: A stone which shows pink and green together, often with a yellow divider. Most properly this should be a slice of a Tourmaline crystal that shows red surrounded by a green 'rind.'

Tourmaline was thought to be an aid to meditation, fostering compassion and cool headedness. It was said to protect its wearer against many dangers, particularly that of falling. The gem was highly valued by alchemists who, possibly because of it's pyroelectric effect, believed it to be related to the philosopher's stone. This was said to be the substance that would grant enlightenment, give power over spiritual affairs, reconcile opposites, and change base metals to Gold.

Hardness: 7-7.5

Toughness: Fair

Birthstone: October (along with opal)