Saturday, September 12, 2009

Designing with Tourmaline

Tourmaline is one of the most chemically complicated gemstones around, and it shows in the unmatched variety of available colour schemes. Several colours may even be present in the same piece, and will appear differently when viewed in different kinds of light and from different angles. A truly dynamic stone, indeed!

To add to the intrigue of this bizarre and beautiful mineral species, Tourmaline is naturally pyroelectric: when heated or compressed, it takes on a positive electric charge at one end and a negative electric charge at the other. This interesting quality was known by British importers in the 18th century, who made use of the charge to pull ash out of their pipes.

At that time the Dutch East India Company was importing vast quantities of Tourmaline from Sri Lanka to insatiable audiences in Europe. Almost two centuries later, Empress Dowager Cixi- the last Empress of China- also entered the Tourmaline trade, regularly shipping tonnes of it from Californian mines. Her appetite for beautiful pink tourmaline was apparently so voracious that it single-handedly created a prosperous mining industry in San Diego County.

Associated with amorous emotional energy, Tourmaline is seen as the gem of lasting love and friendship.

Click here to browse Tourmaline at Stones and Findings

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