The Paraíba Tourmaline: the Queen of Green

Feb. 19 2014
The Paraíba tourmaline is the rarest variant of tourmaline in existence. This has to be the dream stone for lovers of green engagement rings.

Dinner out the other night was a rare occurrence for us, but we made an effort and had a really lovely evening at a little Italian place down the road. When we go out to eat, neither of us is distracted and we can just be together completely.

Sometimes, in the house, we are so busy doing other things, we are together but we are not actually enjoying each other’s company. Dinners out are very much looked forward to by me and sitting opposite F as he orders the wine and reaches for his glasses to scrutinise the menu, I remember how much I truly love him.

Spaghetti, Prosecco and Green Engagement Rings

Over spaghetti and prosecco we chatted a lot about green engagement rings and why lately we had both been so focussed on green, as opposed to other colours we had also considered. I certainly had made no decision, but I could not deny that green was a colour that always made an impact on me. Emerald and tourmaline both have a mystical sparkle and exquisite reflective qualities, not to mention a uniqueness that enhances their appeal. But, F asked me as he was wrapping a long pesto laden piece of spaghetti around his chin, had I considered a green engagement ring adorned with a Paraíba tourmaline?

Discovery of a Gem Amongst Gems

Currently some of the rarest and most sought-after stones in the gemstone market, it is hard to believe the discovery of Paraíba tourmalines took place scarcely four decades ago. That is indeed the case, as Brazilian prospector Heitor Dimas Barbosa only first discovered the stunning variant of the green verdanite tourmaline in the 1980s.

Green Tear Ring by Fei Liu

Green Tear Ring by Fei Liu

The story goes that Barbosa repeatedly mined a certain spot in his home state of Paraíba, with no basis other than a hunch that he would find something interesting. And he did: a unique variety of elbaite tourmaline, called the cuprian elbaite, with a neon-like glow and range of colours not seen on any other tourmaline. As he dug the brightly glowing, bluish-green rocks out of the ground, Barbosa probably only had the faintest inkling of what he had just stumbled across.

These stones are so rare that they are only found once for every 10,000 diamonds mined.

Consequently, they sell for upwards of five figures each time. I had a vague recollection of reading about these stones but had no idea of their quality, especially considering that they only ever weigh less than three carats.

There is Always an Alternative

We giggle about the exorbitant price of the stone and while F jokes that money is no object where I am concerned, I think a green engagement ring topped with a Paraíba tourmaline is probably more suited to the wealthier couple that wants a ring to match their jet and their swimming pool too.

F tells me, though, that the dazzling beauty of the cuprian elbaites has been found in another stone back in 2003 in Africa. The stone in question is almost identical, with only minute chemical differences that are noticeable by no one but experts. It was interesting to me that Brazil and Africa were once joined and, despite the differences in size and weight of the two stones, the newer discovery being bigger and heavier, it is not surprising that they are so similar. The weight and size of the newer stone, plus the more affordable price tag, is bound to be appealing to the more budget-conscious couple wanting a green engagement ring. Tiramisu arrived at that point in our conversation and talk turned to wedding venues and what about Italy as a potential?

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