Pink Tourmaline

Buying and Caring for Tourmaline Jewelry

Gemstone treatments

rubellite cabachon ringMost tourmalines are lovely, untreated stones, however modern technology has found ways to enhance their beauty. For example, some green and blue tourmaline can be color-enhanced by heating the stones, and pink tourmaline can be made more intense through irradiation. The word radiation may sound scary, but don't worry - the resulting product is perfectly safe to wear, no radiation remains on the stone.

Clarity and Clarity Enhancement

It's common for Paraiba and Rubellite tourmalines to have inclusions. Inclusions are foreign substances - liquids, solids or gases - that became embedded in the stone when it was formed. This is normal for these varieties and more acceptable than in other types of tourmaline, i.e. they not necessarily a sign of a poor-quality stone. These inclusions can however cause internal cracks or fissures. If the fissures reach the stone's surface, they can be filled with resin to make the stone more stable and the imperfection less noticeable. These are known as "fissure filled" or "clarity enhanced" stones. The jeweler should disclose this treatment, and tourmaline treated in this manner should cost much less than untreated stones.

How Tourmaline is Cut

Because of its internal structure, every piece of colored tourmaline exhibits a slightly different color depending upon which side you view it from. A good gem cutter will take this into account in order to bring out the very best in each stone. Tourmaline crystals are long and narrow, lending themselves naturally to the emerald cut or oval, however you will find tourmaline jewelry with stones in a variety of shapes.

Lab Created Tourmaline:

tourmaline gem stoneOccasionally you will see jewelry described as created tourmaline, synthetic tourmaline or lab grown tourmaline. These stones have the same chemical composition, physical characteristics and optical properties as natural tourmaline, but they are man-made stones which have been grown in a laboratory. Created tourmaline is frequently used in children's jewelry and family birthstone jewelry (like mothers' rings or pendants), but it's also worth considering if you're on a tight budget as it's much less expensive than natural tourmaline. Nothing wrong with buying created stones, but you should be aware of what you're buying.

Note that this is not the same as simulated tourmaline. Stones need only to resemble natural stones in order to be labelled as a simulant. Pink glass could be called simulated pink tourmaline.

Caring for your tourmaline jewelry:

emerald cut pink tourmalineWith a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Moh's scale, tourmaline is a durable, scratch-resistant stone which is suitable for any kind of jewelry, including rings. Like with most gemstone jewelry, the best way to clean your tourmaline jewelry is with mild soapy water and a soft brush like a child's toothbrush. It should be stored in a soft bag or compartment away from other jewelry as being carelessly tossed around with ither items can abrade and scratch the jewelry settings or the stones themselves.

Because they often contain many inclusions, Rubellite and Paraiba tourmalines require a little more TLC than the other varieties. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean rubellite or paraiba jewelry as it can crack the stone.