Eighth Anniversary Gift Guide: Tourmaline
13 Minute Read
Eight is a powerful number when it comes to marriages. If you have made it to this milestone anniversary, take a moment to congratulate yourself and your partner! Together you may have surmounted many struggles and as well as experienced some wonderful highs.
For those of you celebrating an eighth wedding anniversary, the traditional gemstone gift to present to your partner is the tourmaline. Tourmaline is an incredibly versatile gemstone that can be any color of the rainbow. Some crystals can even exhibit multiple hues at the same time. In fact, the word "tourmaline" comes from the Sinhalese term turmali meaning "mixed gemstone". Historically, tourmalines were often mistaken for other gems like the green emerald and red ruby. It was not until the eighteen hundreds that tourmalines really started to gain their own identity in the public eye and win over their own fan base.
From delicate pinks to seductive greens and even bold black, tourmalines can be used in jewelry suitable for any individual at many different price points. Also, it is not unusual to find raw tourmaline crystals that are quite large. This means that you can find jewelry featuring gems of any size from tiny to statement.
Tourmaline and Relationships
Tourmaline crystals are mined across the globe and have been for many centuries. Because so many cultures have had access to the gem, quite a bit of lore has sprung up around the possible benefits of owning and wearing beautiful tourmaline jewelry. Interestingly, a sizable chunk of this lore applies to individuals in long-term relationships, making it the perfect gift for an eighth wedding anniversary!
Specifically, it is said that wearing tourmaline will help you maintain and deepen your connection with your partner by nurturing a feeling of love and offering the internal peace necessary to heal from any emotional distress that you may have experienced. Some go as far as to call the gem a natural aphrodisiac.
Beyond the benefits that tourmaline can bring to those in a romantic relationship, it is also said that the gem can grant its wearer added insight into any interpersonal conflict that they may be experiencing by providing a sense of calm. Even further, tourmaline can help foster within you the patience necessary to resolve any dispute by understanding the point of view of the other person and giving you the ability to find a middle ground. All in all, tourmaline jewelry is a perfect gift to give to anyone that you care about, especially a spouse.
The Different Varieties of Tourmaline and Their Associated Lore
Tourmaline is found in all colors of the rainbow as well as black and, very rarely, can be colorless. They owe this exceptionally wide range of color expression to the complicated chemistry that makes up their crystals. All tourmaline varieties have aluminum, boron, and fluorine as their base. Different species have combinations of additional elements including lithium, sodium, copper, aluminum, iron, magnesium, and titanium. It is the presence and concentrations of these different elements that create the ultimate color expression of individual gems.
For those of you who are interested in the scientific names of the most prevalent tourmaline species, they are dravite, elbaite, liddicoatite, schorl, and uvite. However, these are sterile, technical names. It does not help that there is some overlap of color expression between a few of the varieties, meaning that you can't always identify the species just by looking. Also, in terms of pricing, color is the primary value factor, not the specific species.
To make things easier for everyone, tourmaline gems are often called by their color or a tradename for their color, rather than their species. This is a much more sensible naming method that allows for the lore to be connected to specific colors.
Here is a quick guide to some of the different colors that tourmaline can express and what benefits wearing them might bring to you and your spouse.
Paraíba - Perhaps the most well-known variety of tourmaline is the famed Paraíba. Known for a pure or combination of neon blue, green, or violet coloration paired with shining transparency, Paraíba tourmaline is hands down the most expensive tourmaline variety on the market today. Originally discovered in 1989 in Brazil near the region of Paraíba, global demand for this striking stone soared right away. Of the three possible colors of Paraíba tourmalines, electric blue and violet are the most prized. Perhaps due to their short time on the market, you may see their color advertised using the names of other, more well-established gems like turquoise, tanzanite, and sapphire. But don't let this naming practice confuse you, Paraíba tourmalines are their own gemstone variety.
Because Paraíbas have only been around for a few decades, they don't have symbolism that reaches back into history. That being said, the deep blues, greens, and violets that they express do have long-standing associations. With that in mind, some say that wearing Paraíba tourmalines can bring you heightened intuition, wisdom, and serenity. Faceted gems weighing more than a carat are rare, so most of the jewelry that you can purchase as an anniversary gift will feature small stones.
Indicolite - Found in many different places worldwide, tourmalines that have a dominant blue hue that doesn't have quite the neon coloration of Paraíbas are often referred to as indicolite gems. Minor contributions of both violet and green are acceptable. Wearing an indicolite tourmaline is said to be protective against a variety of different external threats. Some say that blue tourmaline links the wearer's third eye with their throat. This means that the wearer gains insight as well as the verbal skills to express themselves. Communication is key in a long-term relationship, so a blue indicolite tourmaline is a natural choice for an eighth wedding anniversary present.
Green and Chrome Tourmaline - There are two levels of green tourmaline after Paraíba: gems that are a gentle pastel are simply called "green" while stones with a stronger color expression are termed "chrome". Both of these varieties are famous for often having a dazzling clear clarity and their color expression can include hints of yellow or blue.
The mild green color of green tourmaline is very pleasing, and crystals are often found in giant sizes. Sometimes, due to the massive dimensions of the crystals, cutters may choose to cut the gem into smaller pieces which are then mounted in jewelry as a perfectly matched set. Also, thanks to its size, green tourmaline is a great candidate for carvers who can fashion large stones into intricate pieces of art. You might hear green tourmaline described as "verdelite" but this is a term that slowly becoming outdated.
Recently in the 1960s, vivid green tourmaline gems were found in eastern Africa. In spite of their small size (most weigh under five carats), the color was so much more intense than traditional green tourmalines that gemologists decided to give them their own label - chrome tourmaline. The color of these stones is sometimes so powerful that they are compared with emerald and tsavorite garnet.
In terms of value, both green and chrome tourmalines with slight hints of blue that are not too dark are the most highly-priced. The presence of yellow and brown colors tends to lower the value of the stone. This is good news for those who love a dark olive coloration!
Green is a color that is connected with nature, fertility, creation, and renewal. It also is the color of financial prosperity. Gifting your partner a green or chrome tourmaline symbolizes your continued commitment to your union and hope for a rich and bountiful future together. This is a very suitable gift for an eighth wedding anniversary.
Rubellite - the term "rubellite" is an umbrella trade name that generally covers pink and red tourmalines. Like chrome gems, the pink and red colors of tourmaline can be so intense that they are compared to pink sapphire and ruby. The color expression of rubellite stones can vary from purplish red/pink to orange-red/pink. Gems that have any brown or show lower saturations are typically valued less than stones with pure color or those mixed with some purple.
Some pink tourmalines are so bright that sellers may apply descriptive words like "bubble gum" or "hot pink" to their inventory. The clarity of red and pink tourmaline can be a bit cloudier so clear stones are relatively rare. Like green tourmaline crystals, raw rubellite crystals are often so large that they have to be cut down to be practical for use in jewelry.
Because "rubellite" is a trade term, it does not have a standardized meaning. Some use it to refer to all pink and red tourmalines while others believe that it only applies to the best purplish red to pure red stones. Regardless of how you use this word, pink and red tourmaline are stunning gemstones that look beautiful in any color of mounting.
It may interest you to know that rubellites had one particularly high-profile fan in the late eighteen to early nineteen hundreds - the Chinese Empress Dowager Tz'u Hsi (pronounced Cixi). The story begins with the discovery of huge deposits of high-quality rubellite in California in 1892. The empress, who was especially fond of the gem, learned of these new mines and imported as much of the Californian rubellite as she could, quickly becoming the dominant buyer despite living on the other side of the world. The gems that she bought were not only faceted and placed in jewelry, but larger crystals were carved into figurines or small bottles. The ruler loved rubellites so much that, upon her death, she was laid to rest on a pillow of carved rubellite.
Yellow Tourmaline - Yellow tourmaline can be found in an array of tones and saturations with crystals ranging from pale yellow to deep gold. Some rare valuable crystals pair a golden color with hints of pink but you will also see combinations with green and brown. Above all, yellow is a happy color. Wearing this type of tourmaline can calm your mind while simultaneously giving you a boost of productive energy. Because these gems provide positivity, they are a great choice for an eighth anniversary present. Fortunately, yellow tourmaline crystals are quite plentiful, so there are lots of affordable jewelry on the market.
Orange Tourmaline - While supplies of yellow tourmaline are quite abundant, the orange variety is generally less available. In wearing an orange tourmaline, you can expect the stone to help you cleanse yourself emotionally, bringing a sense of clarity and positive energy. The orange variety of tourmaline is also closely associated with the physical being, promoting passion and physical intimacy. This is an excellent choice of gem to present to your partner for an eighth wedding anniversary.
Purple Tourmaline - Purple is the color most closely associated with wisdom, insight, serenity, and noble love. Historically, it was also associated with royalty and wealth. The purple color expressed by tourmaline doesn't get as intense as amethyst does, but the gentle hue is quiet and sophisticated.
Brown Tourmaline - Brown tourmaline is a very underappreciated gem. Demand isn't high, but that means that their per-carat values are quite affordable. Brown is an Earthy color and tourmaline can show a pure brown color expression or pair it with yellow, green, and orange hues. Because of the association between the color brown and the Earth, many claim that wearing a tourmaline that is at least predominately brown leads to emotional and spiritual grounding which, in turn, leads to stronger interpersonal relationships.
Black Tourmaline - Several of the tourmaline species can show a deep black color. Black is truly a blank canvas. These tourmaline gems are just as at home in substantial signet rings as they are in delicate chandelier earrings. Wearing this gem has many different positive effects, including banishing negative energies and promoting positivity and self-confidence.
Parti-colored - Why choose one color when you can have many? For those of you who are attracted to fun and dynamic gems, parti-colored tourmaline might be the stone for you! Parti-colored tourmalines must express at least two colors. One of the more well-known combinations is a gem with a pink center and green outer layer that many aptly call "watermelon tourmaline". However, there are gems out there that are highly zoned and show many different
colors. You might find parti-colored tourmalines which have brown, yellow, pink, green, and blue areas.
Cat's Eye Tourmaline - The last entry on our list is the cat's eye tourmaline. A cat's eye effect, known to those in the trade as "chatoyancy", is a phenomenon where there is a straight, bright line that appears within the stone that moves as you tilt it back and forth. This is caused by light interacting with a cluster of parallel inclusions inside the gem. This effect does indeed look very much like a cat's eye.
There are several gemstones that can show a cat's eye effect, but, thanks to large, hollow inclusions, the phenomenon in tourmaline is particularly luminous and textured. Interestingly, it is usually pink, blue, or green tourmaline that shows this phenomenon. To highlight the cat's eye effect, gems are often fashioned into round or oval cabochons with the eye running lengthwise, rather than being faceted.
Like many of the other tourmaline colors, cat's eye gems are said to have a protective nature that shields the wearer from danger whilst giving a sense of mental clarity. Some credit the stone with having detoxifying effects that benefit the whole body.
How to Care For Your Eighth Anniversary Tourmaline Jewelry
Tourmaline is a generally durable gemstone, but it is not as strong as sapphire or diamond. With a Mohs score of 7-7 ½, the surface of tourmaline can accumulate scratches if not worn and stored properly. To keep your jewelry looking its best, you can use mild, soapy water or a specialized jewelry cleaning solution with a gentle brush. When you put your tourmaline jewelry away, it is wise to wrap it in a soft material so that it does not rub against itself or other jewelry items.
If you treat your eighth anniversary tourmaline jewelry with care, you can expect to enjoy it for many years to come!
Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.
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