Paraíba tourmaline’s neon blue hues stunned the gem world in the 1980s. These intense colors finally allowed tourmaline to claim its space in the gem market on its own terms. No longer are tourmalines judged simply as imitations of better-known gems or as collector’s items.

Since their discovery, these gems have risen consistently in price. Geological rarity and laborious mining keep the paraíba tourmaline supply low. However, demand is high and rising. Because of their rarity and unique colors, the quality and value factors for these gems differ from other varieties of tourmaline. Be sure to understand these factors before beginning the paraíba tourmaline buying process.

What is a Paraíba Tourmaline?

Paraíba is a variety of elbaite tourmaline with copper content. The name comes from the Brazilian state of Paraíba, the original source. Subsequent discoveries of similar stones in Nigeria and Mozambique caused some controversy over the use of this name. The gem community largely accepts paraíba as a variety name. Nevertheless, some gem dealers may refer to the gems that come from Africa as “paraíba-like” or cuprian tourmalines. However, laboratory reports from major gemological laboratories note that paraíba refers to copper content, not locality.

Furthermore, the GIA’s identification of…