What is Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba tourmaline is a breathtaking gemstone renowned for its vibrant electric blue and neon green hues, making it a true treasure of the gemstone world. Paraiba tourmaline is a rare variety of tourmaline, a semi-precious gemstone, colored by copper and manganese under specific geological conditions.

Discovered in 1989 in the Paraiba state of Brazil, this type of tourmaline quickly captivated the world with its intense color. Since then, Paraiba tourmalines have also been found in Mozambique, Nigeria, and other locations, but Brazilian finds remain highly sought-after.

Paraiba Tourmaline Formation

Paraiba tourmaline, characterized by its vibrant neon blue and green hues, crystallizes in pegmatites, which are coarse-grained igneous rocks formed from the final stages of magma crystallization. Its unique color comes from trace elements of copper and manganese incorporated into the crystal structure during formation. Unlike most tourmalines, which acquire their colors through iron, manganese, chromium, or vanadium, Paraiba tourmaline derives its signature neon glow from copper. 

Paraiba Tourmaline
 Paraiba Tourmaline Rough and Cut, from Brazil


Paraiba Tourmaline Properties

  • Color: The most prized Paraiba tourmalines boast vibrant neon shades of blue and green, with occasional turquoise and violet hues. These colors primarily arise from traces of copper and manganese.
  • Luster: Vitreous (glassy) to sub-vitreous (slightly duller glass).
  • Transparency: Transparent to translucent.
  • Hardness: 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale (moderately hard, can scratch glass).
  • Crystal System: Hexagonal.
  • Chemical Composition: Complex sodium lithium aluminum borosilicate with additional elements like copper and manganese.
  • Density: 2.84-3.10 g/cm³ (moderately heavy).
  • Fracture: Conchoidal or uneven (tends to break with smooth, curved or irregular surfaces).
  • Cleavage: None (difficult to split in a predictable direction).
  • Luminescence: Weak fluorescence may be present in some specimens.


Paraiba Tourmaline on Quartz
Paraiba (cuprian) Tourmaline on Quartz
From: Batalha mine, Junco do Serido, Paraíba, Brazil
Photo: Mineral Auctions

Gemological Properties

  • Pleochroism: Strong, with colors shifting from blue to green depending on viewing angle.
  • Refractive Index: 1.603-1.655.
  • Double Refraction: High.
  • Dispersion: High (creates lively fire).

Paraiba Tourmaline Rarity

Paraiba tourmaline is one of the rarest gemstones in the world, with an estimated ratio of one Paraiba mined for every 10,000 diamonds. The primary source of Paraiba tourmaline is Brazil, with deposits in the states of Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte. Smaller deposits exist in Mozambique, Nigeria, and Namibia, but these are less significant and produce fewer high-quality stones.

Paraiba Gem

Paraiba Tourmaline Value

Paraiba tourmaline is one of the most expensive gemstones in the world, with prices exceeding those of most diamonds. This is due to its rarity, vibrant color, and increasing demand. 

Price Range:

  • Small (0.20-0.99 carats): $150 to $15,500 per carat.
  • Medium (1.00-1.99 carats): $550 to $30,000 per carat.
  • Large (2.00+ carats): $950 to $55,000 per carat, with exceptional stones reaching $100,000+.

Several factors influence the price tag: 

  • Color: The vibrant neon hues command the highest prices, 
  • Size: While larger stones are rarer and often more expensive. 
  • Clarity: Eye-clean Paraibas with minimal inclusions are more valuable than those with noticeable flaws. 
  • Origin: Brazilian Paraibas typically command premium prices due to their historical significance and exceptional quality.

Neon paraiba tourmaline
Neon paraiba tourmaline


Why is Paraiba Tourmaline So Expensive?

Paraiba tourmaline's astronomical price hinges on extreme rarity, surpassing even diamonds. Its vibrant neon hues, unmatched in intensity, and strong investment potential make it a collector's dream. Each stone, a masterpiece of nature, commands a premium due to limited supply, captivating color, and potential for value growth.

Paraiba Tourmaline Ring Earring
Paraiba Tourmaline Ring and Earring

In conclusion, the rarity of Paraiba tourmaline, coupled with its unique and captivating colors, limited sources, and the challenges associated with mining and treatment, contribute to its high market value. As a result, this gemstone has become a symbol of luxury and exclusivity in the world of fine jewelry.

Read also:
Tourmaline: The Colors and Varieties of Tourmaline
Watermelon Tourmaline: What Is Watermelon Tourmaline
Rubellite - Properties, Value, Occurrence and Uses

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