Choosing the Right Tourmaline Gemstones

A colorful gemstone like tourmaline is a good way to bring some color to your jewelry and look. Tourmalines are a group of natural, semi-precious gemstones that boasts striking colors across the spectrum of color.

What Are Factors to Look for in Tourmaline Gems?

Loose gems of all types have a well-established set of factors to evaluate their quality. These vital factors are:

  • Gem Color: Lighter tones on colored gemstones like a green tourmaline show off their color better.
  • Gem Clarity: While inclusions in certain loose gems are seen as attractive, they can also effect the vibrancy of the stone's color.
  • Gemstone Cut: Due to how tourmaline forms, tourmaline gems are often unusual shapes. Most people prefer symmetry and an even cut.
  • Gem Carat Weight: Simply put, size and carat or weight of fashioned tourmaline gemstones increases their rarity and value. The greater the carats of a gemstone, the heavier and larger it is.

What Colors do Tourmaline Gems Come In?

Tourmaline gemstones found in minerals like quartz, belong to different species of mineral that effect their color. Species of tourmaline include dravite, elbaite, and enstatite, which result in many different natural colors of gem, including:

  • Black Tourmaline: The most common naturally occurring color of tourmaline is black. This species of stone is also known as schorl.
  • Colored Tourmaline: Caused by traces of certain other minerals in the stone, tourmaline gems can come in many bold, single colors. Colors range from popular green tourmaline and pink tourmaline, to other colors like blue-green and red. Sometimes a certain color is only found in one place, like the electric blue paraiba tourmaline of Brazil.
  • Multi-color: Gems don't have to have only one color though, as its possible for tourmaline gemstones to naturally feature bi-color and tri-color appearances. Multi-color and bi-color tourmaline can show their different colors in different sections or different layers of the gemstone.

What Shapes and Cuts Can Tourmaline Gemstones Come in?

As with any loose gemstone, rough tourmaline stones can be cut and faceted into different shapes to suit people's personal taste, like:

  • Oval Shape: Featuring an oval cut, this shape works with the long narrow structure of natural tourmaline crystals. Paraiba stones are often faceted as an oval tourmaline.
  • Emerald Shape: An emerald cut of a tourmaline is an elongated, rectangular shape with linear facets. 
  • Cabochon: Rather than being cut and faceted, these tourmaline gemstones are shaped and polished.