With its vivid burst of color, the aptly named watermelon tourmaline perfectly imitates the flesh and outer shell or rind of the similarly named juicy summer fruit. Here I’m taking you on a venture in taking a closer look at the origins of the watermelon tourmaline and how I ended up falling head over heels for this pretty gem!
For those that are avid readers of my blog you will not be surprised to hear that this gem was pretty much non-existent on my gem radar until one of my beloved fellow gemmology friends introduced me (Aryan I owe you one!). This love story starts with my dear friend asking me if I had ever used Tourmaline in any of my designs. Pretty dismissive I replied no, as until then I had considered it to be a lower ranked gemstone used in my opinion in as halo or side stones on jewelry to add some color to the piece. He opened a bag and showed me some raw Watermelon Tourmaline pieces and asking me to identify them. Not having seen anything like it ever again, I wasn’t embarrassed to say I didn’t have a clue. “Let me introduce you to Watermelon Tourmaline” he said and I honestly haven’t looked back since! I immediately bought some chips of these beauties to familiarize myself with them and their energy and started doing some research. Little did I know that it’s actually my birthstone, alongside Opal, (October) and we literally clicked instantly.
So let’s discover a bit more about this pretty & colored gem and it’s history.
What is watermelon tourmaline?
All gems in the Tourmaline family are mixed crystals of aluminium boron silicate that also contain elements such as iron, manganese, sodium, lithium, or potassium. The stone was first discovered by Dutch traders off the West Coast of Italy in the late 1600’s or early 1700’s. At the time, these green tourmalines were assumed to be emeralds. It wasn’t until the 1800s when scientists realized that these stones were their own species of mineral. The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese term “tura mali” meaning “stone mixed with vibrant colors.” The name was given to all colored crystals on the island of Sri Lanka at that time. This all-inclusive name indicates the inability of ancient gem dealers to differentiate tourmaline from other stones. In fact, at one time in history, pink and red tourmalines were thought to be rubies. Pink tourmaline tends to be pinker in color than ruby. However, their similarities in appearance are so strong that the stones in the Russian crown jewels believed to be rubies for centuries are now thought to be tourmalines.
The ancient Egyptians had a legend about tourmaline gemstones. They believed that these stones got their amazing colors because they broke through a rainbow while pushing their way up through the earth. The Egyptians used tourmaline for both physical and emotional remedies. They firmly believed that tourmaline could heal the nervous system, blood diseases, and lymph glands.
Gemmologists now divide tourmalines into 11 different species depending on their properties and chemical composition. Elbaite is the name given to the most colourful members of the tourmaline mineral family. The red or pink tourmalines known as rubellites, the blue variety called indicolite and the coveted Paraiba Tourmaline are all Elbaites, as is the multi-coloured watermelon tourmaline.
With a Moh’s scale hardness of 7-7.5, the watermelon tourmaline is a relatively durable stone for jewelery.
Although they have a high hardness, their complex crystal structure makes tourmalines very difficult to cut. A great deal of expertise is required to identify areas of tension within the stone, which can cause it to crack during the cutting process.
How is watermelon tourmaline formed?
Most tourmaline deposits are found in veins that run through rocks, which were created by molten magma from volcanoes. As the magma cooled, large cracks formed, which were filled with a solution of water and minerals such as iron, lithium or manganese that, over time, turned into crystals of tourmaline and other stones. It is these trace elements that give tourmalines their vivid colours, ranging from red, green and blue to yellow and orange.
What causes watermelon tourmaline’s colours?
The bi-coloured and multi-coloured zoning that we so often see in tourmaline gems happens when the trace elements change in concentration or composition during a crystal’s growth. These unique gems can have coloured zones across the length of the crystal, or they can have a core of one colour and an outer edge of another colour. A single tourmaline crystal can contain up to 15 different colours or shades – no wonder it has been nicknamed the “Rainbow Gem”.
In watermelon tourmaline, pink and green Elbaite crystals are found in the same stone, and these colour zones provide a visual record of its formation process. As the watermelon tourmaline crystal grows and thickens, it is exposed to different minerals such as manganese and lithium, which cause the gem to change colour from a pink centre through a pale zone to the green rind.
Where is watermelon tourmaline found?
Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, Afghanistan and the United States all produce watermelon tourmalines. The North American state of Maine, where the gem was first discovered at a mine in Newry in 1902, is renowned for its stunning watermelon tourmaline.
Crystal healing properties
Watermelon Tourmaline resonates with the heart chakra, and it will cleanse and get rid of any blockages that reside in your heart.
It also acts as a balancing crystal that will remove your insecurities and amplify your strengths. It will balance your male and female energies as well. It will inspire both practicality and creativity, and it will help you achieve your goals by thinking out of the box and being resourceful to make your goals happen. Watermelon Tourmaline is known as ‘the gateway to the inner self’ and the ‘super activator’ of your heart and higher heart chakras.
If you’re single and looking for love, Watermelon Tourmaline will help attract love and find your soulmate (I’m inserting a disclaimer here! ;-).
It will clear your aura so that more positive love energies will flow in your life. It will clear whatever negative thoughts and feelings you may have that are preventing these love energies from flowing freely. Watermelon Tourmaline will also help bring resolutions to your relationship problems, especially when the problems related to yours and your significant other’s happiness and peace. It will show you how you can be more understanding, patient, and forgiving. It will also infuse your relationship with more love and happiness.
Whether or not you are a believer in it’s healing properties, it makes one hell of an eye catching and unique gemstone and a treasure to anyone fortunate enough to own one!
I hope this article and the content resonates with you. If you would like to learn more about our Montana sapphires or any other of our gemstones, please feel free to contact us on email@example.com.