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Tourmaline History

Tourmaline's name comes from the Sinhalese word "turmali," which means "mixed." Bright rainbow collections of gemstone varieties were called "turmali" parcels. Tourmaline, occurring in more colors and combinations of colors than any other gemstone variety, lives up to its name. There is a tourmaline that looks like almost any other gemstone! Many stones in the Russian Crown jewels from the 17th Century once thought to be rubies are actually tourmalines.

 

Perhaps this is why this gemstone is said to encourage artistic intuition: it has many faces and expresses every mood.

The Empress Dowager Tz'u Hsi, the last Empress of China, loved pink tourmaline and literally bought almost a ton of it from the New Himalaya Mine, located a long way from the Middle Kingdom in California. The Himalaya Mine is still producing tourmaline today but the Dowager went to rest eternally on a carved tourmaline pillow.

 

Pink Tourmaline shares October's birthstone status with opal.

Tourmaline is also of interest to scientists because it changes its electrical charge when heated. It becomes a polarized crystalline magnet and can attract light objects. This property was noticed long ago before science could explain it: in the Netherlands, tourmalines were called "aschentrekkers" because they attracted ashes and could be used to clean pipes!

 

 

 

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