Indicolite

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Indicolite: the fascinating and majestic blue tourmaline

In nature, minerals can take on infinite colors thanks to atomic exchanges within the crystal lattice, or due its deviations; not only diamonds have this extraordinary ability, but there is another group of gems known for its multiple colors due to the “elasticity” of the crystalline structure: we are talking about tourmalines.

Photo credits: www.jewelers.org

The name derives from the Sinhalese word “Thuramali” meaning “stone with mixed colors”; in the infinity of shades that these gems can assume, there are some particularly interesting for jewelry: these are parahiba tourmalines (among the rarest and most precious), rubellites (with an intense purple red color), watermelon tourmalines and last but not least, the indicolite tourmalines.

Perhaps the name may sound new to you, but maybe the color may remind you of fantastic jewels seen in some window shop in the city center: a very intense greenish blue, the same color as the deep blue sea.

The Great Divide Tourmaline was found in the Brazilian mine in Pederneira, Minas Gerais, in the 1990s. It has an estimated value of about 1.2 million US dollars (source: eragem.com).
Photo credits: Astro Gallery of Gems, 2017

These minerals grow in the bowels of the Earth, when magmatic liquids, rich in chemical elements, cool down forming real pockets rich in beautiful perfectly developed crystals.
If we are lucky enough, a miner from some remote Russian, African, Afghan or Brazilian mine will find this “pocket” and bring to light its crystalline formations, thus allowing us to appreciate and stone-set these rarities in some jewels.
Right because of their formation, they can reach considerable dimensions and, consequently, dizzying prices too!

Ring with platinum setting, central emerald cut tourmaline weighing 4.79 ct and trapezoidal diamonds weighing 0.87 ct.
Photo credits: www.oscarheyman.com

The indicolites are particularly appreciated by the people as they simulate in color and brilliance other much rarer and more expensive gems such as sapphires or natural blue zircons, as well as its close parahiba relatives: they differ – gemmologically speaking – from the latter only for the absence of copper in the crystal lattice, with a completely similar appearance and color in the most precious qualities.

The indicolite variety tourmalines are therefore very versatile gems, often used by goldsmiths to create compositions with a great visual impact.

Written by Giulia Lombardo