Tourmaline gemstones and Paraiba are now commercially accepted as synonymous with each other. Considered as an electrifying item for jewellery and fashion, tourmalines bearing this characteristic shade owe their origin to north-eastern parts of Brazil. Much later, the sizzling varieties in effervescent green-blue were mined from Mozambique and Nigeria. If you are planning to buy a Paraiba tourmaline, there are chances that you might get confused between the ones coming from Brazil and those mined from Africa.
How are they different? Does it really count if they are from different sources? How to tell the difference between the two?
In terms of physical differentiation, it is very hard to find the variation between the Paraiba tourmalines from Africa and Brazil. Even under the microscope, they are hard to be differentiated.
So, how to differentiate? The only way gem labs can find the difference is by using quantitative chemical testing. Origin-wise, gem collectors rank Brazilian tourmalines higher than the ones mined from Africa. The African tourmalines have a reputation similar to what Burmese rubies enjoy in the gem lines.
History of Paraiba
One of the recently discovered naturally-occurring gemstones, Paraiba tourmalines have a history dating back to 1980s, when Heitor Dimas Barbosa and his assistants dug out pegmatite deposits in the hilly areas of Paraiba in Brazil.
Why Paraiba gemstones are so popular?
The shady electrifying blue shade in the Paraiba tourmalines matches the beauty of blue sapphires. The blue colour appears due to the presence of copper oxides and hydroxides. Brazilian stones are darker in colour compared to their African counterparts by virtue of higher copper ions in the crystal structure.
Paraiba tourmalines exhibit a variety of colours ranging from sky blue to aquamarine to psychedelic blue. Highest variation in colour shades is observed in Mozambique Paraiba tourmalines.
World’s most famous Paraiba:
The Guinness World Records rank stunning Ethereal Carolna Divine Paraiba as the world’s largest, flawlessly cut naturally occurring Paraiba tourmaline in the world. It weighs 191.87 carats and is enlisted in the same bracket as Logan Sapphire, Hope Diamond, The Golden Jubilee and Alan Caplan Ruby.
The Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba is an oval shaped tourmaline featuring Brilliant Cut, and is four times heavier than the second largest tourmaline ever mined. The stone now graces as a part in the necklace called Paraiba Star of Ocean. It entered the ranks in 2009 when the stone featured in the necklace designed by Canadian jewellery house- Kaufmann de Suisse.
This tourmaline exhibits a radiating neon blue-green colour very distinct from the traditionally mined stones. It is best described as the blue of the tropical ocean. Even the necklace it is fit into has been inspired from the aqua flora and fauna. A compliment to the marine animals like turtles, shells crabs, star fish, rays and sea horses, Paraiba tourmaline is flanked by the likes of canary yellow diamonds, blue, orange sapphires, ruby, garnet, emeralds, blue topaz and Tsavorite. The 191.87 carat Carolina tourmaline easily exceeds the size of all other gemstones.