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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Elbaite Ring

Elbaite Ring (NMNH G4160-00) from the National Gem Collection.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G4160-00
Locality Minas Gerais, Brazil
Weight 50.5 ct

Gift of L. G. Erickson in 1965.

The tourmaline family consists of 14 distinct minerals, but only one, elbaite, accounts for nearly all of the tourmaline gemstones. 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/pink, it can also be blue, purple, yellow, brown, and colorless. Varieties of elbaite are sometimes referred to by names, such as rubellite (red-pink), indicolite (blue), and achroite (colorless), as well as the rare and highly prized Paraiba (neon blue). This ring has a beautiful step-cut rubellite that is set in platinum with diamond accents. The mounting is quite unusual and original in design. The round brilliant cut diamonds are prong set in a fan-motif branching up the sides of the shank. It appears to be a hand-fabricated piece, probably from the 1960s. The beautiful tourmaline is from Brazil and is just over 50 carats. It is a deep purplish-red color with very good clarity for a stone of this size and is on display in the Mineral Hall.



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