AZGem Gems
November, 2005

The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Tourmaline Gem Colors


This month we answer a recently received question... What kind of a gem is green elbaite?

The short answer is elbaite is one member of the tourmaline group of minerals, but there is much more to the story.

Elbaite is named for the island of Elba, an Italian island off the coast of Tuscany. Green tourmaline was once mined there. Until recent times elbaite referred to only green tourmaline, although tourmaline comes in many, many colors and shades. Now the gem industry generally refers to tourmaline by color.

For example, here is a yellow tourmaline.

The word tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word tourmali, which means something like "mixed stone" in English.

Tourmaline is a family of closely related minerals, but almost all brightly colored tourmaline gem stones are elbaite. The other members of the family are mostly drab grays, browns and black.

The best known tourmaline colors are green, pink, red, and blue.

Some tourmaline crystals are green on the outside and pink in the middle. They are known as watermelon tourmaline because of the color combination. Some of these crystals can be cut into gems. They are then called bi-colored tourmaline.

There are a few exceptions to the practice of naming tourmaline gems stones according to their color. The exceptions are paraiba tourmaline, chrome tourmaline, and cats eye tourmaline.

Paraiba tourmaline is the most color intense of the tourmaline gems. It comes in two colors... brilliant green and bright blue. When these gems were first discovered and introduced to the gem industry around 1990, they were labeled "electric" or "neon" because of their brilliant colors.

The industry has slowly settled on the name Paraiba because the material came from the Brazilian state of Paraiba. The intense colors are caused by naturally occurring copper and gold in the gems.

More recently, similar but slightly less brilliant tourmaline has been found in the west African country of Nigeria. These two occurrences plus the shapes of South America and Africa offer support for the Theory of Continental Drift.

Chrome tourmaline is a rich green color, closely resembling emerald. These gems contain chromium, which gives rise to the name. In some of the more recent finds, the same rich green color is produced by vanadium rather than chromium. These vanadium-containing stones are still called chrome tourmaline.

Chrome tourmaline comes from a few African countries, primarily Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Cats eye tourmaline is a gem with parallel microscopic inclusions that reflect light, producing the cats eye effect.

The principle commercial sources for tourmaline are Brazil, Sri Lanka, the U.S. (Maine and California), Burma, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Afghanistan. The pink tourmaline shown here was mined in Namibia.

A Google search for the key word phrase watermelon tourmaline returns a number of interesting resources. Don't overlook the ads down the right side of the page. Those are resources too.





Industry News...


Strong Online Sales

Americans spent $305 million online on "Black Friday," up 22 percent compared to the $250 million spent online on that day in 2004, according to a new report. 

"Black Friday" is the name retailers use for the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. This is the day consumers begin Christmas shopping in earnest, and the day that many retailers hope to begin showing a profit for the year... and begin making bookkeeping entries in black ink instead of red.

Total online holiday sales will jingle to the tune of more than $19 billion this year, according to that report from comScore Network, a consumer research firm..

 Online consumer spending is expected to rise 24 percent compared to last year’s season

Our stud earrings and birthstone earrings are bargain priced, and make a great gift for the ladies on your list.



Jewelry Dealers

It's here! The Christmas shopping season is in full swing.

Now is the time to serve your loyal customers and earn new customers by selling them quality jewelry at bargain prices... while making a tidy profit for yourself.

Don't be bashful, contact your customers and talk it up! Tell them about the beautiful jewelry pieces you have in inventory for immediate delivery.

If they need something special, use your catalogs and other resources listed in your Jewelry Dealer's Kit.



Jewelry Dealers Program

Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?

Do you enjoy talking with friends and co-workers?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.

Carolyn Doyle

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The Dorado Company
P.O. Box 8232
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-8232