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Rubellite Gemstones - A gemstone from the Tourmaline family


Rubellite is a stunning gemstone from the tourmaline family. It is given the Rubellite due to its resemblance to the ruby; it has colors that range from red to a stunning pink. Now, tourmalines are a group of differently-colored gemstones, which are very closely related and are purely made by Mother Nature. As a rule, in the gemstones market, it is not common that every tourmaline variety have its own name. Instead, the color is simply added to the name Tourmaline, so you get red, blue, yellow or green tourmaline. However, the Rubellite is so stunning that it deserved its own name. The red and pink varieties of tourmaline have been given their own names due to their striking beauty and seductive nature.

When talking about red and pink tourmalines, you have to realize that not all belong to the group called Rubellite. In fact, there are red and pink tourmalines which are simply called fine pink shocking, violet, bold ruby-red, and tender pink tourmalines. Of all of these, there are only a few that deserve to be called Rubellite. The name is derived from the Latin word Rubellus, which simply means reddish, but not all tourmalines that are reddish can be added to this group. For a red tourmaline to qualify to be called a Rubellite, it has to pass stringent criterion, all based on the way that the color of the gemstone will behave, when it is exposed to natural and artificial light.

Most gemstones will change their color based on the source of light, but a true Rubellite will not. This means that it will shine just the same when it is exposed to either natural or artificial light. However, those red to pink tourmalines that do not make this criterion will exhibit and brownish tint when they are exposed to artificial lighting.

Aladdin´s cave within a gemstone

As a general rule, in the world of gemstones, the colored gems must be clear and should have as few inclusions as possible. However, in the case of the Rubellite, a few inclusions are looked upon with approval. Truly, the inclusions are the ones that make the stone very interesting whenever a gemstone aficionado considers it. Although the inclusions are favored, they should not be so many that they make the stone begin to look milky or cloudy. The inclusions must never interfere with the way the light goes through the crystal structure of the stone. Although the inclusions are acceptable, that which has fewer inclusions will be more valuable than that which will have many.

When it comes to cutting a Rubellite, there are several ways in which it can be cut, and the cutter has to look for a way that will best exhibit the intensity of the red color. Rubellite gemstones are mostly found in Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Nigeria and Brazil. One can get shocking pink varieties from one particular gemstone mine in the United States of America.

The power of seduction

They say that a lady in red is devastating to any red-blooded man. Well, they say that the red Rubellite is seductive purified. These stones have components of red, violet and pink, and these are taken as the colors of the world of desire, and joie de vivre. It is stunning to think that in the world of gemstones, there is no other gemstone that has truly been said to ooze pure seduction. Rubellite ranges in color from shocking pink to ambivalent violet; these are the two components that bring out the erotic aura within the red color. There is a right Rubellite for every woman, and all she has to do is look through stores catalogues and stocks, to find the one that will surely fit her taste and skin type. However, this may not be as easy as it seems, and it can take a lady years to get the right stone. There are no Rubellite stones that are alike, so you cannot look for a matching pair. Any woman who loves the good life, and understands what it means to spend some money and give herself a treat will take a lot of pleasure in hinting for the right Rubellite for her.

A deeper look at Rubellite gemstones

It is a well-known fact that the most desirable tourmaline gemstone is the Rubellite, which is said to be the pink variety of the elbaite tourmaline; the crystals of Rubellite may have tinges of brown, purple and orange. The most valuable gemstone in this group are those that have an intense red color, which may also tend towards violet. Red Rubellite, in conjunction with the red ruby and red spinel, are the only gemstones in the world that have such a rich and deep red color. It is incredibly hard to get a Rubellite stone that is clean when viewed through the naked eye, and for this reason, aficionados do accept that a few inclusions will not affect the value of a Rubellite. If you are a gem collector then you should really buy this wonderful gemstone for your private collection.

The physical properties of Rubellite gems

The colors of Rubellite are recognized as Red to Deep Pink, the common name for the gemstone is simply Rubellite, and it is one of the tourmaline species of gemstone. The darker Rubellite stones may show a birefringence that is quite high and may get to 0.04. It has a pyroelectric nature in which it develops charges at the end of the crystals when it is exposed to fire and high temperatures. It is also Piezoelectric, in that it will also get charged at the same ends, when it is put under stress.

The transparency of this gemstone is classified and transparent to translucent. It has a refractive index of 1.624 to 1.644. The birefringence is calculated to be between 0.018 and 0.02. It has a uniaxial optic character, and a negative optic sign. It has a double refractive character, when viewed through a polariscope. This is a stone with a moderate fire with a dispersion value of 0.017. Some varieties of the stone may show some form of pleochroism, but not too much; the stone may change from medium to dark red, and sometime to dark pink, when viewed in different light conditions.

The chemical properties of Rubellite gemstones

The chemical name for Rubellite is the complex boro-silicate of Aluminum, Magnesium and Iron. It has a chemical formula of Na(Li1.5Al1.5)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH). It has a crystalline structural form in a Trigonal system. The gemstone is classified as a silicate, and is fully created by nature.

This is a fairly hard gemstone, with a hardness value of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It does form streak which are white in color. The gemstone has a specific gravity of between 3 and 3.26, but it is typical at 3.06. This is a fairly tough gemstone and this makes it ideal for being faceted for setting in jewels. You do not need to worry about the inclusion in this gemstone, they are considered to be great, but only to a certain point. This is one of the gemstones that are classified as type II clarity stones. These are the stones that may contain liquid or gas in the crystal, and these are what cause the inclusions. The gemstone has a vitreous luster and is quite stable. The gemstone has a conchoidal to uneven fracture and has a difficult or indistinct cleavage, therefore it is not brittle.

A profile of the Rubellite gemstone

The Rubellite, apart from the expensive Paraiba Tourmaline is the most expensive gemstones within the Tourmaline species. The name, is said to describe only the deeply red varieties, but that is not exactly the truth. You cannot think that these stones will soon be a thing of the past; it has been noticed that Rubellite gemstones tend to lean towards violet, as opposed to the kind of red color that is exhibited by the ruby. It would probably be more accurate to say that Rubellite gemstones have a deeply reddish color. This does not mean that you cannot find Rubellite that looks exactly like a ruby; they have been found. In a certain gemstone show in Brazil, there was one owner, who had a collection of Rubellite gems, mined from the Ouro Fino deposit that were, in his own words, Red, Red, Red. In actual fact, he was saying that the stones did not have any brown or violet hues as is more common with most Rubellite gems.

This does not mean that the basic Rubellite which may have a violet hue is not worthy of the title, which really means a gemstone that has a truly red color. It is at the same show that dealers showed several Rubellite gems that had a red color that can only be described as cranberry or plum, and these were mined from Africa; the stones were fantastic and truly deserved to be called Rubellite gems. One thing that came out, when all the stones were displayed is that the red color of Rubellite is really just a rich highlight, or an overtone, instead of being the basic color of the stone. The owner of the Brazilian stones did mention that his were probably the only true Rubellite gems in the whole collection, due to their ripe strawberry basic color.

Now, when you measure most Rubellite stones against this Brazilian ideal with a strawberry red color, then one can say that the name Rubellite can be stretched to encompass a wide variety of red-colored tourmaline stones. This means that the name can be used to cover stones which have a violet tinge to those that have a pink one; the ruby red tinge can be said to be in the middle of this range. This also bring to the fore, the fact that there is a lot of hubris about what the transition point is for a stone to be declared as Rubellite or Pink Tourmaline. So according to some aficionados, the term Rubellite should be applied to tourmalines that have medium to dark tones which are fairly saturated. Those that do not have enough depth in color or tone, will not qualify as Rubellite, but will be called pink tourmalines.

The naming of the Rubellite talks on a new twist given that the fact that the pink tourmaline is now a fashion sensation and is considered on the same level as the ruby or the "true" red tourmaline called Rubellite in the past. This is not the place to settle the nomenclature despite, but it can be said that there is an effort to stretch the description of the Rubellite gemstones to sell what should normally be called a pink tourmaline and not a red one.

The clarity issue

When a Rubellite gemstone is found to be comparable to a ruby when it comes to color only, it probably will not qualify as a sand-in when it comes to the clarity of the stone. The way that Rubellite is formed and its crystal structure, it will rarely be clear at all.

Although most Rubellite gemstone will have inclusions to some degree, this fact has not stopped gem collectors from valuing it a lot. It is a wonder when you see buyers and dealers completely ignoring the fact that the stone has inclusions and still paying top price for it. One dealer says that on the American market, all colored gemstones are valued in much the same way that diamonds are valued. This means that every gemstone that is considered to be of high quality must pass the 4Cs test. This is something that the true Rubellite will not mean and for this reason, this is a gemstone that will mostly be bought by collectors and not your usual walk-in gemstone customer. A Brazilian specialist was known to say that these inclusions make it very hard to sell commercial-grade Rubellite. Similarly, it is also very hard to buy top-grade Rubellite. Now, there is a growing demand for African Rubellite gemstones that have a medium tone and a moderate price; this is brought about by the fact that the color of the gemstones makes it hard to see the inclusions

The mystique of the origins of Rubellite

Rubellite is a gemstone that is found in many countries including America, Afghanistan and Africa, 75 percent of the commercially viable stones come from Brazil. These come from the famed mining region known as Minais Gerais. Rubellite deposits are scattered widely and once mining begins, the deposits are quickly depleted; the color of the stones is also varied and it is hard to make generalizations about Rubellite stones coming from any one region. Recently, there was a new deposit of high-quality Rubellite stones found in an area called Ouro Fino. Most of these Rubellite stones were strawberry red in color, and those that were considered better had a color that resembled cranberry red, but with a deeper tone. Some of the stones that come from this region are known to have a deep purple color which makes it hard to consider them as Rubellite. You should therefore be very careful, when you are told that a certain stone has come from a certain mine, which may, for all purposes, be closed.

The one place that should cause you to salivate when you hear of a Rubellite gemstone originating from there, is Madagascar. Over the years, this is one African country that has developed a good reputation as being a source of rich-red Rubellite stones, which not only resemble rubies to the letter, but seemingly looks like the Burmese ruby, considered to be the crème-de-la-crème of all types of ruby. In fact, this reputation has made many buyers think that the best Rubellite stones are those that come from Africa. This is quite a change, given that 10 years ago, nobody ever thought about Africa, whenever Rubellite was mentioned.

Recently, there has been an increase in the availability of cranberry red and fine plum Rubellite gems, and this is due to the fact that Rubellite gemstones are now being irradiated, just like topaz, in order to make their colors to be more intense. The irradiation is only carried out on the gemstones that have a deep purple color or an intensely pink one. It was only after dealers came to know about this irradiation that the market for Rubellite came crashing down; this happened in the 1980s. However, after a short while, dealers came to realize that irradiating Rubellite stones made them get a deep and lasting tint, and this brought the market prices up, and they stabilized; the prices are still on the way up.

Rubellite in all its colors, whether violet, red or pink is still a scarce stone and most dealers look forward to the day that they will have enough supply to meet the current demand by customers.

In Summary

Tourmaline that resembles a ruby is called a Rubellite. However, just like there is controversy over when a deep pink sapphire can be called a ruby, tourmaline may only be called Rubellite only if it gets the deep red colors that do not change when viewed in either sunlight or incandescent light. If this does not happen then the tourmaline is classified as a pink tourmaline.

Rubellite gets its name from the Latin word "Rubellus" which can be loosely translated as "Coming from the red".

It is fairly common to find inclusion in the crystal structure of a Rubellite gemstone. These inclusions are sometimes referred to as Jardin, which is the French word that means Garden. This means that Mother Nature planted a garden within the crystals of the Rubellite.

This is a truly valuable gemstone, and it is also much rarer than the ruby which it is supposed to copy. In fact, there are customers who claim that the Rubellite is more beautiful than the ruby, but that should be chalked up to personal taste. However, as is one of the odd things in the gem world, the beauty and rarity of the Rubellite does not make it command a high price on the market. This is ironical but understandable, because the gemstone is not well known.

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