dcsimg

Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Elbaite candelabra

Photograph of elbaite candelabra (132377) from the National Mineral Collection
Photo by Chip Clark. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH 132377-00
Locality Tourmaline Queen Mine, California, United States

Elbaite is a colorful member of the tourmaline family of minerals. The tourmaline family consists of more than 30 distinct minerals, but only one, elbaite, accounts for nearly all of the tourmaline gemstones. Elbaite is named for the source from which it was first described, Italy’s island of Elba. Elbaite gems cover the complete range of the color spectrum. Moreover, single crystals can show several colors, either along their lengths or from the inside out, making it possible to cut unique multicolored gems. Varieties of gem elbaite are sometimes referred to by names such as rubellite (red-pink), indicolite (blue), Paraiba (neon greenish-blue), or the multicolored watermelon (pink surrounded by green). Some people think this specimen, nicknamed the “candelabra,” looks like three hot pink candles in a quartz and albite candelabra. As the elbaite crystals grew, the growth solution changed from manganese-rich to iron-rich, creating a blue top on each pink candle.

From the exhibit

Some people think this specimen, nicknamed “Candelabra,” looks like three hot-pink candles in a quartz candelabra. As the elbaite crystals grew, the growth solution changed from manganese-rich to iron-rich, creating a blue top on each candle.

Sorry!

Landscape mode is not currently supported for this website