In 1987 a Geological Phenomenon was discovered in the state of Paraiba, Brazil
and Paraiba Tourmaline was born.
Paraiba have become one of the sought-after gemstones in the world. First discovered in the 1980s by Heitor Dimas Barbosa – who spent years digging in the hills of the Brazilian state of Paraiba on a hunch that something special was hidden there – he must have known he had hit the jackpot when he set eyes on his first, neon-bright Paraiba tourmaline.
This gemstone unlike its well-known family of Tourmalines possessed internal elements allowing Paraiba Tourmaline to have Super Hero like powers with the elements of Copper and Manganese running through its crystal structure. This rare mix of elements created neon blue green characteristics with electric vibrant brilliance that has never been seen before in the Gemstone world – The Super Gem Paraiba was born.
Almost every shade of tourmaline can be found in Brazil, but none has the vivid glow that distinguishes the Paraiba tourmaline, also known as cuprian elbaite. A product of the trace element copper, colours range from startling turquoise to majestic blue-green, but it is the incandescent glow that appears to light up the stone from within that makes Paraiba tourmalines incomparable to any other gem.
To put their rarity into perspective, there is only one Paraiba tourmaline mined for every 10,000 diamonds, and a good quality Paraiba from Brazil weighing over three carats is virtually unheard of. So rare are authentic Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines that it is not unusual for them to achieve five figures per carat.
Courtesy Claire Roberts, The Jewellery Editor and Ring image courtesy of Kat Florence