is derived from the Sinhalese word, 'turamali', meaning 'stone of mixed colors'. Tourmaline is second to none in the realm of precious stones when it comes to color and versatility. Tourmaline crystals can range in hue from completely colorless to black, and from pastel to dark. Also, tourmaline gems can exhibit multiple colors within the same stone. This is why many tourmaline gemstones are often cut into long bars, as this shape brings out its best color and highlights its attractive and desirable color zoning. In fact, tourmaline
is quite famous for its bi-color and tri-color gemstones, often sought after by collectors and fashion jewelry designers. One of the most well-known trade names for such tourmaline is watermelon tourmaline, which is uniquely banded in colors which resemble a sliced watermelon. Watermelon tourmaline with especially vivid and bright colors, clear zoning, and high clarity can easily demand top prices. Almost all watermelon tourmaline is heavily included which makes eye-clean gems a true rarity for this variety of tourmaline. Other colors of tourmaline tend to form with higher clarity, as seen in green tourmaline or chrome tourmaline.
Tourmaline is quite durable, rating 7-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale
, which makes it slightly harder than varieties of quartz. Tourmaline is an attractive buy, as large size gemstones are quite affordable and relatively easily available. However, as tourmaline's popularity increases, so does its price. In the last few years alone, prices for quality tourmaline have gone up tremendously. Today, tourmaline is one of the most important gemstone groups in the world. What makes tourmaline even more special is the fact that this gemstone typically does not require any enhancements. It is one of the few natural gemstones available that is not known to be treated in any way, though some specific neon-like colors (often neon blue or neon green-blue) can be created through intervention and enhancement. Along with precious opal, tourmaline is one of the official birthstones for the month of October.