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Elbaite

Elbaite (NMNH G10698-00) from the National Gem Collection.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10698-00
Locality Mozambique
Weight 29.5 ct

Purchased with funds from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation in 2011.

Elbaite is a colorful member of the tourmaline group of minerals. The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word “turmali,” which applied to different gemstones found in Sri Lanka. Tourmaline gems cover the complete range of the color spectrum, but in exquisite shades unlike those of any other gem material. Although tourmaline is best known in shades of green and red or pink, it can also be blue, purple, yellow, brown, and colorless. Tourmaline comes in many color-specific varieties, including indicolite (blue), rubellite (red), Paraiba (neon blue), watermelon (pink surrounded by green), bi-colored (two colors in one crystal), and multi-colored (three or more colors in one crystal). Today Brazil is the largest producer of gem tourmaline; other important sources include Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Russia, Malawi, Nigeria, Namibia, Zambia, the U.S. and elsewhere. This fancy round-cut tourmaline, faceted by Paul Merkel, is from Mozambique and has an unusual yellowish-green color. It was acquired with the Tiffany & Co. Foundation endowment for the National Gem Collection in 2011.


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