A History in Pink Tourmaline

Tourmaline is the October birthstone, and considered the stone for the 8th wedding anniversary. Tourmaline was discovered in Brazil during the 1500’s but at that point people confused it with other gems such as emeralds and rubies. The confusion was understandable due to the wide array of colors and the brilliance of the stones. Finally in the 1800’s they became known as tourmaline, from the toramalli, which means mixed gems in Sinhalese (a language of Sri Lanka).

The largest market for Tourmaline was in China during the last half of the 19th century. Chinese Dowager Empress Tz'u Hsi particularly liked the pink and red tourmaline and had the vast majority shipped to China from California mines. She had statues, bottles, sculptures, and jewelry made; most of which is lost now. 

This piece in particular has pink tourmaline on top and pink sapphire on the bottom. It is easy to understand how the tourmaline would be mistaken for another gem. The necklace was made in England and also features two small sea pearls on gold ribbons.

Posted on December 13, 2016 .