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Pink Tourmaline

Mohs Hardness: 7 - 7.5
Specific Gravity: 3.01 - 3.06
Reflective Index: 1.624 - 1.644
October Birthstone: Hope

Pink tourmaline belongs to one of the three gem varieties of
tourmaline known as elbaite. Elbaite is named after the Isle of
Elba, the first known source of this stone. The pink color is due
to the presence of manganese. 

Tourmaline offers the widest array of color choices of any
gemstone in the world. There are so many colors that tourmaline
seems to lose track itself and shows up in multi-colored and
even color changing varieties. One type, rubellite, so closely
resembles fine rubies, that it was mistakenly used in their place
in 17th century Russian Crown Jewels. 

Although nobody really knows the exact origins of the name
tourmaline, Robert Webster, in his book Gems, posits that in
1703, stone dealers in Amsterdam received a shipment of what
they thought were yellow zircon, which the Sinhalese exporters
called turmali. The Dutch dealers dubbed the stones tourmaline,
and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Tourmaline gained international popularity in the mid-1800s
when beautiful red and green varieties were discovered in Maine
and California. The last Empress of China was so taken by the
glorious pink stones from California that she bought almost an
entire ton! Upon her death, she was laid to rest  on a pillow
carved out of pink tourmaline. 

History: It is estimated that tourmaline has been used as gem
material for over 2000 years. The Chinese have long valued
this beautiful gem; they've carved tourmaline ornaments for
headdresses, girdles, badges, and buttons. In 1703, a package
of tourmaline labeled "turmali" from Sri Lanka was sent by
mistake to a stone dealer in Amsterdam. (The name tourmaline
is said to have originated from this Sinhalese term). 
The Dutch noticed that the stones attracted ashes and straw
when heated, and  named the stones aschenstrekkers
(ash drawers).

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