Paraíba tourmaline has often been described as "electric" for the way its vibrance strikes wonder into those who see it. Not only does this kind of tourmaline have unparalleled physical properties, but it also possesses a symbolism that is electric in its own right.
The Paraíba tourmaline possesses multiple characteristics that solidify its well-loved status. When you consider this tourmaline's visual appearance, chemical makeup, and symbolic meaning, there are significant reasons to add it to your collection.
What Is a Paraíba Tourmaline?
The tourmaline gem features the most comprehensive array of color varieties of any gemstone. The Paraíba variety of tourmaline is a brilliant neon blue-green with an exciting history. Although this gemstone has made a significant impression in its lifetime, you might be interested to know that the ocean-like neon tourmaline is relatively fresh.
One determined gem prospector discovered this rare beauty in 1989. Since then, this stone has made waves with its unique elegance and symbolism.
Varieties of Tourmaline
Before discussing the Paraíba tourmaline's origins and history, it might be beneficial to recapitulate the tourmaline gem's many varieties. The tourmaline gem family is home to a rainbow of brilliant hues. From the broader tourmaline classification stem six varieties with unique trade names:
- Rubellite: This kind of tourmaline refers to pink, red, purple-toned red, orange-toned red, and brown-toned red tourmaline.
- Indicolite: This variety refers to violet-blue tourmaline and some with a green-blue hue.
- Paraíba: This kind of tourmaline is intense in color. It describes green-blue and blue tourmaline from the state of Paraíba, Brazil.
- Chrome: An intense green color marks this tourmaline. Despite its name, this tourmaline is colored mainly by vanadium, the same element that colors numerous Brazilian and African emeralds.
- Parti-colored: This variety displays multiple fantastic colors in one.
- Watermelon: This kind of tourmaline has a pink core and a green ring surrounding it. To showcase this unique pattern, crystals of this substance are generally sliced into slices revealing a multi-colored beauty.
These varieties of Paraíba tourmaline display an array of hues and are highly regarded by those who adore precious gems. Still, while each of these gemstones holds immense value and stunning beauty, the Paraíba possesses a unique enchantment.
Let's discover more of its origins and history to appreciate this stone's value adequately.
Origins of Paraíba Tourmaline
Paraíba tourmaline is named for the state where it was discovered: Paraíba, Brazil. These brilliant stones aren't exclusive to the Paraíba region, however. Not long after this stone's discovery, similar tourmalines were found in Brazil's Rio Grande Do Norte state, north of Paraíba.
Nearly ten years after their original discovery, more Paraíba tourmalines appeared in Nigeria and then in Mozambique. Out of all of the Paraíba discovery sites, Brazil became well-known for having the most vivid and exotic of these miraculous stones.
The History Behind this Stone
In 1989, a gem prospector named Heitor Dimas Barbosa resolved to search the Paraíba Hill for an unknown treasure. For years, he and his assistants never lost hope while digging in Pegmatite galleries of these pregnant hills. Barbosa was convinced he would find a wealth of gem discoveries unlike any known variety within this hill, and his intuition served him well.
This success did not occur overnight. Instead, it took Barbosa and his team over five years of digging to finally unearth the gorgeous Paraíba tourmaline gemstones loved by many today. Finally, one autumn day in 1989, Barbosa and his team brought out electric, glorious tourmalines from the galleries of Paraíba hill. One gem prospector's dream manifested as a reality that day, evidenced by radiant colors previously unseen.
Though this discovery made history, Barbosa was unable to witness the grand climax of his years of work. Since 1989, this legendary hill has been combed for further Paraíba tourmaline discoveries, yet none have been found in the same location. Years later, the stone was discovered in Africa too, but in small quantities with a slight variation from the color of Paraíba tourmalines. This scarcity is one contributing factor to the high value of the Paraíba tourmaline.
Properties of Paraíba Tourmaline
Other factors that contribute to the high worth of the Paraíba tourmaline are its physical properties. Of course, the most apparent physical property of this stone is its magnificent color. Paraíba tourmalines are blue in color, but they exhibit a vibrancy so intense that some compare them to neon. What makes this coloration so unique? One determining factor is copper.
You could be pondering what on earth copper has to do with a precious gem. Researchers have determined that a Paraíba tourmaline's copper contents influence its rich color. These coveted gemstones also include manganese in smaller quantities, but copper is instrumental to a tourmaline's neon-like range of blues. Even in low-light conditions, these exceptional Paraíba gemstones sparkle – a surprising feature in a dark-colored gemstone.
On the Mohs hardness scale, this rare gem ranks at a hardness level between seven and seven-point-five. Its luster is vitreous to resinous, and its appearance is translucent to transparent. As far as inclusions are concerned, these stones typically possess inclusions, which are further evidence of their magnificent natural origin.
Finally, we'll briefly discuss this stone's occurrence. Although it's been scarcely found since 1989, Paraíba tourmalines occur in crystalline schists, granites, alluvial deposits, and granite pegmatites.
The Meaning of Tourmaline
Now that we have learned an introduction of Paraíba tourmaline's physical properties, it's time we discussed this gem's meaning and rich symbolism. To begin, it's worth mentioning that the Paraíba tourmaline is a birthstone for those born in October. Symbolically speaking, this precious gem represents wisdom, voice, insight, and creativity.
As a whole, gemstones with a blue hue are said to represent serenity, stability, and calmness. Some have also connected this stone with metaphysical properties such as clarity of mind and a feeling of justice and power.
Gorgeous Paraíba Tourmaline Can be Yours
Have you had the chance to add Paraíba tourmaline to your collection yet? Although its discovery occurred just over thirty years ago, this stone has made a name for itself among collectors of precious gemstones.
With unparalleled hues in serene blue with green and violet tints, this stone is one worth collecting. Wearing a Paraíba tourmaline is not the same as wearing any piece of jewelry. See for yourself why this electric, exotic piece is a testament to the earth's rare beauty.
Paraíba Triplet Ring
How would you like to triple the serenity in your life? Our Mark Henry Paraíba Triplet Ring displays a glowing oval-shaped focal stone flanked by two modified pear-shaped accent stones. These gemstones exhibit that same rich, greenish-blue hue that is synonymous with this rare tourmaline variety.
A series of brilliant white diamonds surround the three-stone arrangement, and more diamonds are scattered down either side of the shank to enhance the tourmaline's brilliance. We suggest wearing this ring alone on your hand to celebrate its beauty fully.
Maharaja Paraíba Signet Ring
The signet ring has been a classic design for ages. Our take on this style takes it to an extraordinary level. The Mark Henry Maharaja Signet Ring is from our Men's Collection and has a dazzling Paraíba center stone with signature greenish-blue hues. A row of dazzling white diamonds surrounds the center stone held in a narrow bezel setting.
"Maharaja" is Sanskrit for "high king" or "great ruler," and we think this ring is a powerful statement piece for any gentleman seeking to adorn his finger with something exceptional.
Petite Signature Paraíba Pendant
This lovely pendant displays one of the earth's most treasured creations with stunning vibrancy. One of Mark Henry's most famous designs now has a stunning Paraíba gem placed at the center of this meticulously handcrafted pendant. In glowing blue-green, this Paraíba pendant features a halo of glittering round baguette diamonds.
You have the option to wear this pendant at adjustable lengths to suit whichever neckline you prefer. Consider pairing yours together with the matching bangle, earrings, and a ring for a complete look.
Paraíba and Diamond Ring
Consider an eclectic variation on a classic style with our Paraíba and Diamond Ring. A sparkling Paraíba is set in the heart of this traditional ring with a contemporary touch. An assortment of fascinating-shaped diamonds enhances the center stone to provide you with this one-of-a-kind treasure.
We suggest wearing this piece on its own to ensure its rarity and beauty can be easily admired.
A Rare Beauty
We all have a desire to be connected to something historical and significant. Collecting and wearing precious gemstones is a way to pay homage to the miraculous beauty created within the earth and discovered by those passionate enough to find it. Heitor Dimas Barbosa may have had to wait years to see the glory of this exotic gem, but you don't have to.
When you wear a Paraíba tourmaline, you will see why this stone is world-renowned for its electricity and vibrant hues. If you believe in its meaning, you might also feel a sense of indescribable peace and direction as you wear this symbolic, historic treasure.