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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Elbaite

Elbaite Ring (NMNH G10601-00) from the National Gem Collection.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10601-00

Gift of Margaret M. Sokol in 2007.

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), indicolite (blue), and achroite (colorless), as well as the rare and highly prized Paraiba (neon blue). Today Brazil is the largest producer of gem tourmaline; other important sources include the U.S., Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Russia, Malawi, and Nigeria. This ring features a greenish-blue step cut tourmaline accented with baguette cut diamonds in a ribbon-like motif.

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