Tourmalines may well claim to be the most colourful group of gemstones. They come in any colour variation, from green, red, blue to yellow, colourless and even black or multi-coloured. They are thus second to no other gemstone group concerning their wide range of colours, however, not all these colours are equally frequent or even equally known. The best known specimen from the Tourmaline group are the green Tourmaline and the pink or red Rubellite or Rubelith. True blue Tourmalines are scarce indeed, since most of the blue specimen show a more or less clearly pronounced shade of green.
Tourmalines in pure blue colour are much coveted due to their beauty and rarity. In fine qualities, blue Tourmalines will almost always be individual pieces, which are considered as rare and desirable items by collectors. Most valuable are such stones showing a dark and brilliant blue reminding of an Aquamarine or a beautiful Sapphire. A purely blue Tourmaline will emanate a high degree of harmony. Perhaps this is the reason why according to gemstone legends blue Tourmalines are reported to bring about openness and tolerance.
The rare blue gemstones usually come from the classical Tourmaline country of Brazil, to be exact, from the North of that country, where also the spectacular Paraiba Tourmalines have been discovered. However, these rarities are also found in the gemstone mines of Namibia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and, lately, also in Nigeria.
Gemstone experts sometimes name blue Tourmaline "Indicolite”. This means simply "blue stone". But generally we talk about "blue Tourmaline”.
Cutting Tourmalines requires a great deal of patience and as much experience. Only few lapidaries know the unique character of this stone and have studied its complex structure in detail, and are thus qualified to cut also "difficult” Tourmalines. Tourmalines often display interior tensions and will then easily split when being cut. If the cutter turns the stone only once in the wrong direction when putting it against the cutting wheel, he will be left with a completely ruined and splintered useless stone. In addition, the distinct dichroism (being made up of two colours) must be kept in mind while cutting. The table must be arranged in such away in the rough crystal as to achieve best possible colour in combination with highest possible weight. So a cutter will often try to keep the less attractive, darker colour out of the stone , if possible.
Having successfully passed the cutting procedure, Tourmaline proves a relatively robust stone with a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs’ scale, demanding little maintenance. This applies for all Tourmalines, even the blue ones. So: should you be lucky enough to come across a blue Tourmaline, go for it! You will never cease to enjoy this beautiful and rare gemstone.