Tourmaline is one of the most common of the pegmatite minerals, and is found throughout the world including (but not limited to) Maine, Brazil, Afghanistan and Namibia. Almost every color of tourmaline can be found in Brazil, which supplied the majority of the world’s tourmaline in the last half of the twentieth century. Small towns in the state of Minas Gerais survived on the gem trade with many local miners called garimpeiros doing small scale mining and small shops set up to perform gem cutting. In 1989 miners in the Brazilian state of Bahia discovered a new variety of tourmaline colored by copper. This new variety came in neon bright colors of blue and green and became known as Paraiba Tourmaline. As the gem trade explodes in Africa, production of tourmaline there is no exception. Finds of note include pink tourmaline from Nigeria, Paraiba- like tourmaline from Nigeria and Mozambique, bright green Chrome Tourmaline from Tanzania, golden Savannah Tourmaline from Kenya, and yellow Canary Tourmaline from Malawi. Tourmaline’s hardness (7-7.5) and color variety make it a favorite for jewelry.
Treatments: irradiation or heating of some rubellite to intensify color.