Tourmaline comes from the ancient Sinhalese (from Sri Lanka) "THORAMALLI" which means a Mixed Coloured Stone.

Tourmaline is a complex crystalline boron silicate mineral which owe their variety of colors to the presence of additional minerals such as sodium, lithium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, chromium, vanadium, fluorine and copper.

Tourmaline occurs in every color of the rainbow in deep reds, pastel pinks, dark greens, vivid yellows and vibrant blues and also in combinations of 2 or 3 colors; rarely is it colorless. Though they can be found in a myriad of colors, they are more common in black to bluish-black. They are called Schorl and this variety accounts for 90% of tourmalines in nature.

Tourmaline has a hardness ranging from 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It is transparent to opaque with a glass-like luster. Cat's eye effect in tourmaline is very rare. If found it usually only occurs in large crystals and they are most likely to be in green or pink and can exhibit strong pleochroism.

Tourmaline was first introduced in Europe by the Dutch East India Company because there was a demand for curiosities and gems. Tourmaline was unique in its distinguishing feature of being able to attract and repel hot ashes when heated or rubbed due to its pyroelectric properties (which is a legitimate magical property). Tourmaline was called the Ceylonese Sri Lankan magnet.

The 18th century Swedish botanist Carl Von Linne called tourmaline "the electric stone."

Due to its electrical properties, tourmaline can be magnetized to attract dust, ash, shavings and general environmental pollutants.

An ancient Egyptian legend states that the myriad colors of tourmaline were created when an ugly evil spirit who was so envious of anything beautiful became enraged when he saw the stunning rainbow above him. He then cast an evil spell to capture the full spectrum of the rainbow and carried them into the crevices and clefts of the cave where they were hidden and left behind until prospectors found them in pieces, crushed by the rage of this evil spirit.

Tourmaline's amazing range of colors make it a highly desirable gemstone. Though it occurs in all colors of the spectrum, pure blue, red, orange, yellow, and purple stones are rare and thus much loved.

Tourmaline is pleochroic. It can change colors when viewed from different angles.

Even though certain varieties of tourmaline (like the neon blue or green Paraiba) are rarer than diamonds (and can cost more than diamonds), it is nonetheless still described as a “semi-precious” stone.

There are different types and varieties of tourmaline. The major species are Schorl, Elbaite, Liddicoatite, Uvite and Dravite. They are further divided by their colors.

Elbaite is the most well-known and valuable form of tourmaline. Most of the multicolored tourmalines and almost all of the tourmaline gemstones are of the elbaite variety.

Elbaite was named after the Mediterranean island of Elba. It is the tourmaline that is often used in jewelry. It can be green, blue, or yellow, pink to red, colorless or color-zoned. Under the elbaite species are Rubellite (ranging from red to pink), Indicolite (blue to green), Verdelite (green) and Achroite (colorless).

Dravite comes in dark colors ranging from dark brown yellow to brown black which is caused by magnesium. They are very dull and opaque, and just like the schorl species, dravite is not commonly used in jewelry.

Liddicoatite which was thought to be an Elbaite, was recognized as a separate tourmaline species in 1977. It comes in a wide variety of colors including, pink, red, green, blue, and brown and very rarely, white.

Uvite is the rare type of tourmaline that is very similar to Dravite, however, it has a different crystal structure from the other tourmalines. It comes in a beautiful green and reddish-brown crystals, with a sub-metallic luster.

The trade names of tourmaline are derived from their color varieties:

- Rubellite Tourmaline is pink, red, purple or brownish coloring.

- Indicolite Tourmaline is in violet, blue and turquoise colors.

- Chrome Tourmaline has greenish tints.

- Bi-color Tourmaline is any tourmaline with a combination of two distinct colors

- Watermelon Tourmaline comes in green-white-red/pink and looks similar to the colors of a watermelon. This is the most sought-after tourmaline, especially the one that is green at one end, and pink at the other.

- Paraiba Tourmaline is of a neon blue-green, turquoise to green glowing colors. These are the most sought after especially the rare neon blue type. Its price can go higher than that of a diamond. The Paraiba tourmaline was named after the locality where it was discovered in Paraiba, Brazil in 1989. Interestingly, Nigeria, which faces Brazil across the Atlantic, also discovered similar colored tourmaline.

Sparkling one-colored tourmalines such as reds, blues, and greens are usually the most highly valued. However, it is the electric green, and neon blue of the Cuprite Tourmaline and the Paraiba Tourmaline that are generally the most valuable. It is the unique internal glow of the Paraiba tourmaline that makes it precious and popular. The radiance is usually described as neon or electric. This glow is created by the trace amounts of copper.

The Chrome Tourmaline which is green in color (but differs from the Regular Green Tourmaline) is also another premium priced tourmaline. What is the difference between these two? Chrome tourmaline gets its green color from the presence of chromium, whereas the regular Green Tourmaline receives its color from the presence of iron.

Black tourmaline or Schorl is the most common tourmaline found in nature. 90% of all tourmaline are schorl (sometimes they come with a brown or blue tint). This color is due to the presence of large quantities of iron in tourmaline.

Tourmaline is piezoelectric and pyroelectric. It has the ability to generate electric charge under the effect of mechanical pressure and when subjected to heat.

Dutch traders called tourmaline "aschentrekkers" or the "ash pullers". This is because its pyroelectric properties attract dust particles such as ashes. Thus, the Dutch traders used tourmaline crystals to clean the ash from their Meerschaum Pipes.

Black Tourmaline is especially effective in negating electromagnetic field (EMF) emanating from electronic devices and appliances like microwaves, laptops, routers, game consoles and handphones. Scientific evidence proves that tourmaline can absorb and dissipate some of these EMFs.

If you are always in close proximity to your computer or handphone and constantly suffering from headaches, sleep disturbances, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, memory loss, depression, exhaustion and fatigue, lack of concentration, weakened immune system or skin rashes, then it is crucial that you place a piece of raw black tourmaline where your computer is or carry or wear a tourmaline stone to protect you from these debilitating energies of electromagnetic stress.

The ancient Egyptians firmly believed that tourmaline could heal the nervous system, blood diseases and lymph glands. Ancient magicians relied upon this stone for protection against evil spirits.

Today, tourmaline is still revered as a psychic shield deflecting and dispelling negative energies on all fronts.

Tourmaline promotes healing and brings balance to the soul. It is often referred to as a stone of wisdom as it inspires positive attitude and stimulates creativity and learning.

Furthermore, the green tourmaline helps strengthen the immune system.

The black tourmaline relieves the pain of arthritis as well as aches in the feet, ankles, legs and back.

The red tourmaline helps the heart, circulation and reproductive system.

The blue tourmaline is helpful with the throat area while pink tourmaline can help with relief from heart problems.

Tourmalines was known since ancient times, more so in the Mediterranean region. One of the earliest gems with a likeness of Alexander the Great is a tourmaline gemstone carved in India around 200 to 300 B.C.

In ancient times, people mistook tourmaline with rubies and emeralds. It was in 1800s that finally scientists were able to put tourmaline as a unique mineral.

The Russian crown jewels contain deep red tourmalines that for centuries were believed to be rubies.

The tourmaline known as Verdelite for years was sold as emeralds.

Tourmaline can also come as inclusions inside other gemstones such as quartz. These are called Tourmalinated Quartz.

Tourmaline is the traditional stone for the 8th wedding anniversary, and the birthstone for the month of October.

Other names for tourmaline include: Aphrizite, Aphrysite, Ash Drawer, Blue Schorl, Ceylon Peridot, Chameleonite, Iochroite, Taltalite, Tourmalinite, Turmaline, Xeuxite and Zeuxite.

Finally, tourmaline mining locations can be found in Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar (Burma), India, Italy, Elba, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tessin, Tanzania, United States, Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Zambia and Zimbabwe.