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Tourmalines showing unusually striking "Neon" colours of blue, green-blue, green and violet first appeared in the jewellery trade in 1989 when a single deposit was unearthed near the Brazilian village of Sao Jose de Batalha in north-central Paraíba State Although uncommon in sizes over 2 carats, these majestic stones are always in high demand, attracting extraordinary prices not seen with any other tourmaline variety While copper is a contributing colouring agent in many other minerals such as turquoise and malachite, it has not been known to colour tourmaline until this discovery.
Typically, iron and chromium induce the blue and green in other coloured tourmaline varieties These gems flaunt trade names such as 'indicolite', the name given to a range of blue tourmalines, and 'verdelite', the name given to a range of green tourmalines Some stones are labelled indicolite even when the green predominates, so buyers should value a stone based on its colour rather than its trade name.
With such an extraordinary discovery like Paraíba tourmaline in our lifetime, one wonders what else lies beneath the earth waiting to inspire the gem world and spark another love affair with a colourful gemstone. . More
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