What is a Paraiba Tourmaline?

I first became entranced with the Paraiba tourmaline a couple years ago — its radiant, almost neon, hues of blue, green, and even violet are simply spectacular. But what is this stone, and how is it different that regular tourmalines, which are quite common in the jewelry world?


photo credit: gia.edu
photo credit: gia.edu

First of all, I needed to learn how to say it correctly, and let me tell you, I was way off! I thought it was “pa-RAI-ba”, but it’s in fact pronounced “par-a-EE-ba.” (Here’s a link to hear it spoken.) Next, I wanted to know how it gets its extreme color, and it turns out that it’s due to the presence of copper in the gem, which no other tourmalines have.

And where is it from? Well not surprisingly, it’s from the state of Paraiba, although I didn’t know that was in Brazil. It’s a relatively new discovery, found in the 1980’s by Heitor Dimas Barbosa. He dug in an old mine in Paraiba Hill for many, many years, absolutely convinced that there was something special to be found there. He was right, and thanks to his dedication and fortitude we now have this rare stone. And when I say rare, I mean really rare! In fact, it’s one of the most expensive gemstones in the world. The larger the stone, the higher the price, as Paraibas are rarely bigger than one carat. Similar stones have now been found in Africa, though their color is said to be a bit lighter.

Here’s some lovely examples of this electric stone:

Ring from Turgeon Raine (9.04 carats!)

turgeon raine paraiba and diamond ring
Diamond and Paraiba earrings from Sutra

sutra diamond and paraiba earrings
Beetles + Huxley pear-shaped ring

paraiba ring from beetles + huxley

Tamsen Z ring with a very unique cut!

tamsen z paraiba ring
Custom Made diamond and Paraiba slice earrings

sliced paraiba and diamond slice earrings from custom made
Modern design from Eytan Aharoni

aharoni jewellery paraiba ring
Beautiful ring from Cayen Jewelers

cayen jewelers paraiba ring
Amazing cabochon Paraiba and diamond ring by Akiva Gil

akiva gil paraiba cabochon ring
I could go on and on, but I think you get the (amaze-balls) picture. Do you own any Paraiba pieces? If so, send me a pic!