A Rainbow of Color Choices
Tourmalines are some of the most brilliant and colorful gemstones. Ranging in color from green and pink, to red and blue and subtle colors in between. Tourmaline’s colors have many different causes. It’s generally agreed that traces of iron, and possibly titanium, induce green and blue colors. Manganese produces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows.
Green tourmaline’s pastel hues provide the market with pleasing alternatives to the deep, rich hue of emerald and the softer green of peridot. At their best, green tourmalines are transparent, brilliant, and clean, with attractive bluish green hues.
Watermelon, bicolor, and multicolored zoning occurs when the trace elements change in concentration or composition during a crystal’s growth. Gemologists describe these tourmalines as parti-colored.
Chrome tourmaline gems offer hues that are more saturated than most green tourmalines. Chrome tourmaline can be a lower-priced alternative to tsavorite or emerald. Both these gems are rare in sizes above two carats, but it’s not hard to find chrome tourmaline in sizes up to five carats. And, while tourmaline can’t match tsavorite’s luster or brilliance, it’s far less expensive than a tsavorite of equivalent size and quality.
Fashioned tourmalines in larger sizes rise considerably in per-carat price. Even though specimens can reach spectacular sizes, these are rare. Availability drops and prices rise sharply for facet-quality rough material. For fashioned gems of similar color and clarity, the price per carat generally increases as the gems pass the five-carat milestone.