Discovered in 1989, Paraiba tourmaline is known around the world as a greenish-blue tourmaline found in the state of Paraiba, Brazil. Named after the state of Paraiba in Brazil, these rare gemstones belong to the trigonal/hexagonal crystal system, with a refractive index of 1.62-1.64; a birefringence index of 0.018; a specific gravity of 3.06; and a Mohs hardness of 7-7.5. The main producing areas are concentrated in Brazil, Nigeria, and Mozambique.
Discovering the Paraiba tourmaline
The story of this enigmatic gem
The Discovery of Paraiba Tourmalines
In 1989, in the state of Paraiba, Brazil, explorer Heitor Dimas Barbosa spent years of exploration and excavation, and finally discovered the lake blue crystal, also known as ‘Paraiba tourmaline’. There are very few large, clean loose stones of this gemstone. As the origin of Paraiba, Brazil has disappeared due to the extinction of the mining area. As a result, most of the ‘Paraiba tourmalines’ currently come from Nigeria and Mozambique in southeastern Africa. These lithium sodium tourmalines get their intense color from copper. For Balaíbas, color is more important than clarity. The inclusion of magazines in gemstones is easily accepted and will only make a slight difference in value.
Compared to the dull color of ordinary blue tourmalines, Paraiba blue tourmalines are very bright in color, mainly in various shades of green to blue. Gemologists customarily use the terms “Neon Blue” or “Paraiba-Blue” to describe the color of this gemstone. Holding these gems in the palm of your hand is like holding a blue lake.
The Origin of Paraiba Tourmaline
We know that there are only three known origins of Paraiba in the world: Paraiba in Brazil, Mozambique, and Nigeria. Next, Normaltan Jewelry will introduce to you the following production situation in Nigeria and Mozambique.
The main mining areas in Nigeria are “Edoukou” and “Ofiki”
In 2000, more tourmalines, also colored by copper, were found in Nigeria. In contrast, Nigerian gemstones are not as vivid and saturated as Brazilian gemstones, but they are very close to Paraiba tourmalines. Geologists believe that the state of Paraiba, Brazil, which is now located at the easternmost tip of South America, and Nigeria were one in ancient times, so the copper-bearing blue tourmalines in these two places are basically of the same origin.
In Mozambique in southeastern Africa, in an area called “Alto Ligonha”, Paraibas tourmalines have also been found, and their colors are also similar to gemstones produced in Brazil.
The Paraiba tourmalines from Mozambique were found to have few inclusions and larger intact crystals. In addition to blue, these gems come in green and purple. Although the appearance of blue gemstones looks not much different from Brazil, the price is relatively low.
Composition of Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraíbas is tourmaline colored with copper. Their refractive index (RI) ranges from 1.603 to 1.655. Refractive index 1.62-1.64, Mohs hardness 7-7.5, birefringence 0.018. Composite silicoboric acid composed of copper, manganese, and other metal elements, trigonal/hexagonal crystal system, no cleavage, uneven or shell-like fracture, glass luster.
Paraíbas tourmalines can be heat treated. This method brightens gemstones with darker hues, turning violets and purples into blues. At the same time, laser methods can be used to remove dark inclusions inside gemstones. Gems that undergo clarity treatments are significantly underpriced.
Caring for Paraiba Tourmalines
The gemstone’s inclusions expand due to the vibration and heat generated by ultrasonic or steam equipment. This cleaning method is not suitable for “Paraiba Tourmaline”. Please use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water to clean and maintain “Paraiba Tourmaline”.
The above is the knowledge about “Paraiba Tourmaline” introduced by Normaltan Jewelry. Hope this helps you to learn more about the “story” of the gemstone.