Paraiba Tourmaline – The Eighth Color!
About the Paraiba Tourmaline
The Paraiba Tourmaline is as unique as it is breathtaking. The vivid and nearly unearthly shades of Paraiba tourmalines range from neon greens through emerald, turquoise, sapphire blue, sky blues, neon-blue, blue-violet, purple, and indigo. Some of these astounding shades have not been identified naturally in any other gemstone known in the world. The Paraiba Tourmaline obtains these unmatched vibrant colorations from the presence of copper and possibly manganese within the stone, distinguishing it from all other tourmaline gemstones.
Purchasing a Paraiba Tourmaline Ring
Because the value differs significantly based mainly on coloration and clarity, there is actually no single standard value for the Paraiba tourmaline. Rare hues in the highest quality stones will reach well into the $xx,xxx USD ranges for per-carat. Quality cuts in high clarity grades for over a single carat of Paraiba tourmalines are extremely uncommon. Weights over five carats are museum grade gems. Therefore we recommend you prioritize hue, cut, and clarity over raw carat weight. If you are willing to sacrifice quality, lesser grades in clarity and color could be marked down to per-carat prices in the 3-digit USD range. Such stones can still look quite unique and attractive and for most Paraiba Tourmaline buyers, this will be a desirable per-carat price.
Only Buy a Paraiba Tourmaline Ring from Reliable Sources
Due to the distinct and dazzling hues of a Paraiba tourmaline gemstone, they are in consistent demand. However, because there is nearly no live supply in the world today, the majority of gemstone retailers will not have these stones in their stock. A number of suppliers have been found providing tacky and fake Paraiba tourmalines that are in fact a much more typical tourmaline variety that has been artificially dyed. Unsurprisingly, this scam is particularly common on Ebay. However, such stones are not difficult to detect, because they differ in color and are vastly inferior in clarity. Nevertheless, Paraiba tourmaline should only be purchased from reliable merchants. If you find any cause for suspicion, immediately check that the stone you order comes with an authenticity certificate or grading report. If it does not, at least make sure the vendor has an ample return policy and after you receive your gemstone, get it checked at a grading lab.
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What Makes the Paraiba Tourmaline so Uncommon?
The Paraiba tourmaline is among the rarest and most valuable gemstones in the world due to several combined reasons. The primary cause is that there are currently no new sources of this tourmaline and the few existing sources have been completely mined out for some time. So far, the Paraiba tourmaline was only seen in two different locations. First, it was found in in 1987 in Paraiba, Brazil. For a time, this was an exclusive source for the vivid tourmaline so the mines were depleted swiftly.
Nearly 14 years later in 2001, an almost identical gem was discovered in in the Republic of Nigeria in Africa. The new tourmalines were on average, a little less vivid in hue, and required a high-temperature treatment before exhibiting brilliance. Nevertheless, the Nigerian tourmalines were almost identical to the 'Paraiba tourmalines' on a gemological analysis. Therefore, several official gemstone grading circles including the IGS (International Gemstone Society) began to classify the Nigerian tourmalines as Paraiba Tourmaline.
Paraiba Tourmaline Disagreement
As a result of the new classification of Nigerian tourmalines as Paraiba tourmaline, a host of controversies were spawned from different vested interests. In the end, the decision was not changed. As well as the almost identical physical characteristics, there is geographical support for the classification. When considering a map of projected continental drift, during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic periods of the Earth's history, the Nigerian and Brazilian tourmaline sites would have been in near geographical proximity. As far as we know, these stones exist nowhere else on the planet so it is likely that they were formed in the same geological conditions and at the same spot near the center of Pangaea. At this time, the Paraiba and Nigerian sites would have been next to each other. If this is true, it places the origin for this beautiful gem at over a quarter billion years ago in the Earth's distant past.
Ancient history aside, there's one other significant cause for why Paraiba tourmalines are so hard to find. The Paraiba tourmaline stones are scattered through small pockets and veins in the earth that make modern mass-mining techniques impossible to perform. Supposedly, forty carats of Paraiba tourmaline requires roughly two thousand tons of mined earth. Of these forty odd carats, merely one forth, around thirteen carats, will be of premium quality gem material. This is additionally compounded by the fact that the tourmalines are normally found in small pieces of .1 to .5 carats (uncut) which is why the pieces above one carat ranges are so rare. As far as anyone knows, larger Paraiba tourmalines simply don't exist on Earth. To sum up the reasons why Paraiba tourmaline is as rare as it is:
1. It has so far only been found in two places on earth.
2. All existing sources have been mined out.
3. Existing mines for Paraiba tourmaline already produced small yields and the mining processes were costly.
These 3 elements combine to make the Paraiba tourmaline over ten thousand times rarer than a diamond and one of the most distinctive gems on planet.