Moh's Hardness: 7-7.5
The tourmaline is a gemstone which is found in a large array of colours in various parts of the world. The crystal structure is long, giving gem cutters opportunities to cut elongated shapes like baguettes and emerald cuts, although they can be cut into any shape. Tourmaline is a great gem if you are looking for colour and can accept the level of care required for a gem that is a little softer than a sapphire, ruby or diamond.
The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word ‘turamali’, meaning mixed gems. For many years, the various colours of tourmaline were often incorrectly thought to be other gems. This goes back to the 1500s when a Spanish conquistador in Brazil mistook a green tourmaline for an emerald. It wasn’t until the development of modern gemmology in the 1800s that tourmalines were correctly identified.
Tourmaline is a suitable gemstone for jewellery but at 7-7.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness it is less hard than a sapphire and certainly softer than a diamond. For this reason, it needs to be treated carefully. Be careful not to knock the stone as it can crack. Wear all jewellery with care and avoid exposure to abrasive materials and harsh chemicals.
To clean, soak your tourmaline jewellery in a dish of warm soapy water and use a toothbrush to gently brush away any built up residue. Alternatively use a jewellery cleaning cloth or professional jewellery cleaning products developed to be safe on tourmalines. Ultrasonic machines are not recommended for tourmalines.