Tourmaline is an incredibly popular gemstone, celebrated for its vibrant colors and crystal forms that make it a mineral collector’s dream. One of the birthstones for October, this gemstone is fairly easy to find in gem stores. While top quality crystals can be worth thousands of dollars, smaller specimens are more affordable.
Tourmaline is a gem of many colors – from pink and red rubellites, to emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, to neon green and blue-to-violet “paraíba” tourmalines. Generally speaking, the pink variety is most commonly used to represent October’s birthstone, but that shouldn’t deter any October babies from wearing the other colours instead if you prefer them.
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October Birthstone History
The name Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, meaning “stone with mixed colors,” and it’s no wonder why. Tourmaline comes in more colours (and colour combinations) than any other mineral group.
Because of its dazzling array of colors, the ancient mystics believed this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression.
Egyptian legends tell that Tourmaline was first created in the depths of the Earth before making its way to the surface and then towards the sun. As it traveled, it passed through a rainbow – a phenomenon that blessed the stones with its many colors. Ancient Egyptians were especially fond of the pink and green varieties, using them in jewelry and artwork.
Due to its variety of colors, tourmaline has been mistaken for many other gemstones throughout history. For instance, the “Caesar’s Ruby” pendant found in the Russian crown jewels is actually a red rubellite tourmaline. Likewise, a Spanish conquistador in Brazil in the 1500s discovered green tourmaline crystals and thought they were emeralds. It wasn’t until the 1800s when scientists officially recognized tourmaline as its own mineral species that these cases of mistaken identity came to an end.
As a stone that is associated with the heart chakra, pink tourmaline is often used in meditation and spiritual practices to promote feelings of love, compassion, and emotional healing.
Pink Tourmaline Meaning & Healing Properties
Pink Tourmaline clears away old wounds and destructive patterns, building new pathways towards self-love and acceptance.
This stone releases a myriad of negative emotions such as stress, self-doubt, anxiety, and guilt, leaving in their place an open and trusting heart.
Pink tourmaline stimulates spiritual healing, fostering the growth of gentleness, compassion, and understanding towards oneself.
October Birthstone Properties
Tourmaline, a boron silicate mineral, has a hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale, making it durable enough for most jewelry pieces. Its crystal structure can range from simple to complex, resulting in a variety of shapes and sizes of the stone.
Tourmaline can be found as inclusions in igneous and metamorphic rocks but the best specimens are formed by the power of hydrothermal activity. Mineral-rich hot water and vapors fill cavities and fractures within the rock structure, using these voids to grow crystals that can weigh over 100 kilograms.
Tourmaline crystals can often exhibit stunning bicolor patterns due to changes in conditions during growth. These multi-hued crystals are known as “zoned crystals,” and when cut into gems, they produce beautiful parti-color stones. Zoned crystals are typically characterized by one color being overgrown by another, creating a mesmerizing contrast of hues. One common example is watermelon tourmaline – a combination of green and pink.
The October birthstone, pink tourmaline, is typically found in transparent to translucent form, but the color intensity can vary depending on the amount of manganese that is present in the stone. The more manganese, the deeper the pink hue.
October Birthstone Care
This October birthstone is known for its vibrant colors and remarkable durability; however, it can be susceptible to damage from heat.
To keep your tourmaline gems sparkling, warm soapy water and a soft brush is the best way to clean them. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners should be avoided.
Store your tourmaline jewelry in a soft pouch or lined box away from harder gemstones like sapphire or diamond.