Tourmaline is a stone that is available in a range of colors much wider than any other gemstone. Therefore tourmaline beads are available in a lot of colors, qualities and shapes. Tourmaline beads are affordable and used widely in jewelry.
Like we said, tourmaline beads are available in a variety of colors. Most tourmaline occurs in various shades pink or green. But it also occurs in shades of red, brown, blue, yellow and black. Red to pink varieties of tourmaline are known in the trade as rubellite, black is known as schorl, green is sometimes known as verdelite, blue as indigolite or indicolite. However these names are used by traders and should not be confused with proper gemological names. The proper gemological name is tourmaline with the color prefix. For example: green tourmaline, pink tourmaline, black tourmaline etc. Black tourmaline or schorl is often used in mourning jewelry. Tourmaline beads can be either faceted or smooth. Not only beads, tourmaline is also cut as faceted stones and is often used in lieu of rubies (red tourmaline) and emeralds (green tourmaline) to bring down the cost of jewelry. This ensures that the jewelry remains authentic while at the same time the price is more pocket-friendly for the consumer.
Tourmaline beads are offered in various shapes. Tumbled beads have irregular shapes but a mirror smooth finish. Oval, cube, tubes, drops and faceted drops are some other shapes which tourmaline beads are available in. Tourmaline briolettes are often used in chandelier earrings. A briolette is a tear or drop shaped stones with tiny facets over it. Most often it is only partly drilled as it forms the dangling end of earrings or the fringe of necklaces.
Tourmaline has important electrical properties. It is pyroelectric, which means that when heated the tourmaline crystal develops positive and negative electricity at opposite ends. This is the reason why tourmaline jewelry attracts more dust than any other gemstone jewelry when stored in a heated display window.
Tourmaline is also piezoelectric, which means electricity can be generated when pressure is applied in a particular direction of the crystal. Due to this tourmaline is used in special depth-recording apparatus for deep-sea divers and craft.
Bi-Color Tourmaline (Watermelon)
Tourmaline occurs in a unique bi-colored form. Such stones having a green outer part and pink center and are very much in demand as ‘watermelon tourmaline’. Slices of such tourmaline are carved with intricate designs and used as the centerpiece in large pendant necklaces or signature bold cuffs.
By and large the most famous type of tourmaline is the Paraiba tourmaline. Mined in the Paraiba region of Brazil, this stone is much coveted for its bright neon blue color. Some samples of Paraiba tourmaline may fetch prices higher than ruby and sapphire, since they are so rare and much in demand.