Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Elbaite (var. rubellite)

Elbaite (NMNH G11453)
Photo by John Parrish/AGTA. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11453-00
Locality Nigeria
Weight 14.24 ct

Gift of Lisa Elser and C. T. Schlegel in 2013.

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. Moreover, single crystals of elbaite can show several colors, either along their lengths or from the inside out, making it possible to cut unique multicolored gems. Although best known in shades of green and pink or red, elbaite also can be blue, purple, yellow, brown, or colorless. Varieties of elbaite are sometimes referred to by names, such as rubellite (red), indicolite (blue), Paraiba (neon blue), and watermelon (pink surrounded by green). 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 14.24ct fancy oval-cut rubellite tourmaline from Nigeria exhibits a beautiful intense purplish-red color. This gem is a 2013 American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Cutting Edge award winner, designed by C. Tom Schlegel and faceted by Lisa Elser, the donors.


Landscape mode is not currently supported for this website