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?
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!)
Tamsen Z ring with a very unique cut!