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Paraiba Tourmaline Gemstones - Stunning color


The Paraiba Tourmaline gemstone is a gemstone that commands one of the highest levels of demand on the global gemstone market. This is a gemstone that comes in stunning colors which include Neon, An electric green blue, and the color of a very clean swimming pool. It derives its name from the place where it was first discovered; the Brazilian State of Paraiba.

The one distinct feature of this gemstone that sets it aside from other tourmalines is that its crystalline structure contains copper and a smaller amount of manganese. It is the copper found within the stone that makes it glow and give it that property that makes it look like a neon light. This is definitely a gemstone that will always capture the eye and hearts of those who happen to gaze upon it.

On the global gemstone market, this is a gemstone that has rightfully been called the ‘Peacock Gem.’ The name was given to it due to the fact that it comes in a wide range of colors, which makes it look like the plumage of a healthy peacock.

The colors that the gemstone exhibits have driven crystal healers crazy since they believe that the magical colors must have some potent powers; they believe that this is the most powerful healing tourmaline ever. They claim that the different colors of this gemstone all correspond to a different magical ability. They say that the abilities attributed to the gemstone include wellbeing, increasing the need to aid and support others, and also self-motivation.

The Story of the Paraiba Tourmaline is indeed thrilling and would probably make for the filming of a great title in the future and perhaps a sequel too. The gemstone was first discovered by a lone gem hunter in 1989. The name of this famous explorer was Heitor Barbosa. This gem hunter must have had some intuitive abilities because he was convinced that there was a great gemstone deposit that lay beneath a small hill in Paraiba. The size of the hill was only 200 by 400 meters, an only had a small height of 60 meters, and this is perhaps the reason why people never thought that there could be anything else under it, other than just pure rock. Barbosa used to go to the hill to prospect and on coming back to the village, he would tell people that he somehow knew that there was some treasure under the hill, and that it was going to be a new discovery. Somehow, his intuition proved to be right and is a testament of his conviction, given that he spent 8 years digging and searching around the hill, in search of this gemstone.

He stared off in 1981 by digging into the hill, and for the next 8 years, he worked without rest, and without any success. He had a number of assistants helping him on his digs, and one day in 1989, during autumn, when the man was resting at his home, due to a bout of illness, his assistants managed to come across the first find of this marvelous tourmaline. Despite this small find, any prospecting for more stones after this initial discovery proved to be unfruitful. However, history had been set and the tourmaline, and the hill in which it was found, were both named Paraiba. If a movie was to be made about the discovery of this wonderful gemstone, then this would make for a thrilling first part.

The sequel of the movies would be based in Nigeria. In the year 2001, a new tourmaline was found in the country and after a lot of scientific tests and optical analysis traces of copper were found in the gemstone, and just like that, a new deposit of the Paraiba Tourmaline was gazette. Thereafter, there was a lot of fuss about the gemstone, and the powers that be, in the gemstone industry, debated heatedly as to whether the new deposits in Nigeria should actually by classified as a Paraiba Tourmaline. They looked at the possibility of giving it a new name simply because it was found on a new continent; perhaps they would have called it after the location in which it was found in Nigeria. However, in order not to confuse the players in the gem trade, they decided that since the gemstone had the same chemical composition, and was therefore very hard to distinguish it, even after chemical analysis, from the Brazilian one, that it should simply be called a Paraiba Tourmaline. This would be the point where the film would come to an end. On careful examination of the plot of the film, and the geographic locations of the two countries, it would suffice to say that the two discoveries confirm the theory of continental drift. The two deposits were split apart as the continents moved apart eons ago.

A profile of Paraiba Tourmaline gemstones

These are small, precious and rare tourmalines that were first found in the Mina da Batalha, which is found in the Federal State of Paraiba in Brazil; they are distinct in the fact that they contains high amounts of copper. There is no other gemstone in the world that has their glowing turquoise to green hues. These gemstones are considered to be real treasure since their discovery is actually a story deserving to be classified as a legend.

To the connoisseur of gemstones, the name Paraiba holds a certain mystique and fascination; this is a name associated with one of the most vivid of all tourmalines, with colors raging from a water blue to fantastic greens. The gemstone is quite young, given that it was discovered in 1989. The one man that the world has to thank is one Heitor Dimas Barbosa. The man had an unshakeable belief that he would one day make a new discovery, in one of the most unlikely places in the world; a tiny hill in Paraiba. He and his assistants spent long hours every day, looking for the new find, for a period of about 8 years. They dug in the pegmatite layers of this modest hill, until one day, in 1989, his assistants found this global treasure.

Heitor Dimas Barbosa was someone driven by just more than the desire to discover gemstones and make some money; he was a man who was convinced that what he found would not have even been discovered before. The Paraiba hill, which is quite famous today, somehow called out to him, and he was truly convinced that he would find something ‘completely different’. He was correct in all aspects. In 1981, he and his assistants entered an old, abandoned and run-down opencast mine on this small hill, and he began digging one deep hole after another, and he did not get any treasure hidden beneath. If he was someone with a lesser conviction, he would have given up after a few years, but he tirelessly continued with his search. After about five and a half years, he found the first signs that his convictions would be true, since he found signs in the tangle of tunnels, shafts and galleries. One day, in the autumn period of 1989, his assistants managed to extract a handful of the best tourmaline crystals ever seen, and they were brought up for all the world to see. People had never seen gemstone of such magnificence. However, as bad luck would have it, the man who was later called the father of the Paraiba Tourmaline, was battling an illness and was away from the mine. He never got to see the first crystals to be extracted from the mine, since they were sold before he could get better. As the world got to know about this find, there was a rush to get ahold of some of these rare tourmalines, and there was a lot of activity at the mine. For the next five years, till 1994, the Paraiba hill was explored to the point where some areas were truly brought down to the ground, but they could not find any more deposits of this marvelous gemstone. Today, there is very little exploration going on at the hill, and it is just famous for that initial find of the marvelous gemstones.

The difference is to be found in the copper content

The typical country where most tourmalines are found is Brazil. The gemstones that make up this group come if probably all the colors of the spectrum. However, for a while, there was a marked absence of the turquoise color; this was soon corrected when the Paraiba Tourmaline was discovered in 1989.

The beautiful colors of tourmalines are due to the presence of a number of elements, such as Vanadium, Crime, Manganese and Iron. This is not the case when it comes to the Paraiba Tourmaline. The color of this wonderful gemstone is brought about by the presence of copper. This is something that has never been found in any other tourmaline in the world. In fact, much of the weight of a Paraiba Tourmaline is made up of copper. Making it quite a dominant material in the crystal structure. After much testing, scientists also found that the Paraiba Tourmaline also contains a fair amount of Manganese.

It is the interplay and percentage content of these two elements that gives the Paraiba Tourmaline the wide range of colors that it is famous for. You get colors that go from emerald green to turquoise and sky blue. It can also be found in sapphire blue, indigo, purple and bluish-violet. You can also get pale gray and violet blue colors based on certain proportions of the two elements. It is the high concentrations of copper that are responsible for the much sought-after colors of green and turquoise in the Paraiba Tourmaline. The Violet to red colors are due to the crystals having a higher concentration of manganese as opposed to copper.  It is possible for experienced cutters to remove the red component by carefully bringing the raw material, thereby ensuring that only pure copper remains.

When you look at the raw material of the Paraiba Tourmaline you may wonder what the fuss is all about. Because the vividness of color is not seen. After cutting, then you will truly understand what the fuss is about. When the stones are cut, they actually scintillate with an unusual brilliance or fire. They are able to glow very brightly even when they are exposed to low levels of light. This is the reason why the Paraiba Tourmaline is said to have neon or electric colors. This is a feature that is said to be fresh and spirited, and makes the Paraiba Tourmaline a true treasure of nature. One of the most vivacious and precious Paraiba Tourmaline is that which has a blue color, which is similar to that of the waters of a clean swimming pool; the colors actually flash before your eyes, and it does not take an expert to be able to appreciate the uniqueness of this feature.

Apart from a few exceptions, the Paraiba Tourmaline is found in small sizes; when the beautiful copper-bearing tourmaline crystals were first found on the small hill in Paraiba, they were all just fragments and they were truly tiny. It is very rare to find the crystals in weights of above 5 grams, and which do not have any cracks in the structure. It is extremely rare that you find any Paraiba Tourmaline with a weight of over 20 grams. It is for this reason that you should never expect to find a piece of jewelry with a large Paraiba Tourmaline specimen. In the whole world, there are only a few specialist merchants who have the large specimens of this magnificent gemstone, and these cost a small fortune.

The Paraiba Tourmaline truly mesmerized the gemstone universe, right from the very beginning, with its extreme beauty and vibrant colors. Their popularity shot to the moon within a very short period of time. Today, the Paraiba Tourmaline, is one of the most desired gemstones in the world and due to this high demand, they fetch a very princely sum of money. Prices still continue to climb, and they have reached such heights that nobody, in the past, would have thought would be reached by any kind of tourmaline. The gemstone goes for five figures per carat, and this is not an unusual happening when you are talking about large and fine specimens of this gemstone. Within a short period of time, all the supplies of Paraiba Tourmaline had been absorbed in the market, and this is understandable given the small amounts available. Nature had created a gemstone that had no competition from any of its peers. One can also say that were it not for the unwavering conviction of Heitor Dimas Barbosa, that he would find something different and unique, then the Paraiba Tourmaline would probably not have been discovered at all.

Paraiba is also in Africa too

When the deposits of this fantastic gemstone were depleted in the Paraiba region that would have been the end of the story of the Paraiba Tourmaline. However, nature always has a surprise card hidden up its sleeve to play at the most unlikely of times. In the year 2001, the story of the Paraiba Tourmaline entered a new phase, but in another part of the world. In Nigeria, there were some blue-green tourmaline stones that were discovered, and they had the same brilliance that was seen ion the Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline. The stones were very similar to those found in Brazil, to an extent that they got the attention of gemologists all over the world. They were just like their Brazilian counterparts to the extent that they seemed dull, until they were subjected to heat and then faceted, when their true brilliance truly came to the surface.

There were some small difference, one of which was the fact that the colors of the Nigerian specimens was a little bit lighter, but these were differences that would only be noticed by experts and scientists. The scientists still went ahead and tried to find out if there were any differences that would make it necessary for the Nigerian specimens to have their own name, but they are yet to find any, to this very day. The chemical components of the two are very similar, and they both get their extraordinary colors from the fact that they have varying amounts of copper and manganese in their crystal structure. So it is possible that there are Paraiba Tourmaline deposits in Africa. This does not mean that there will be a place called Paraiba in Africa too.

Evidence of the theory of continental drift

One of the most precious gemstones in the world can also be an important proof that the theory of continental shift is true. In order to get this theory correct, you should get an atlas and keep it nearby as you read this. Take a good look at the outlines of the continent of South America, and then look at that of the continent of Africa. In your mind, just shift the position of Africa to the east towards South America; you will be amazed to see that the two coastlines fit very well together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

You will see that Nigeria fits in snugly with the north east part of Brazil. It is therefore safe to say that the beautiful copper tourmalines that are found in Nigeria and those found in Brazil, were formed at the same time, when both continents were still one. This is the reason why it is very hard to differentiate between the Paraiba Tourmaline that comes from Brazil from that which comes from Nigeria.  The fascinating world of gemstones is amazing when you consider this fact. However, for people who love the Paraiba Tourmaline, theirs is just to be grateful that there were further deposits which had been found in Africa. These are now being used on the market to replace the original Paraiba Tourmaline specimens that came from Brazil.

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