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Paraiba Tourmaline Overview

Tourmaline is its own mineral and is found in nearly all colors but the most exceptional of them all is the blue-green and the blue varieties called Paraiba Tourmaline. It’s a relatively new discovery and was first mined in the 1980s.

The presence of various trace elements such as aluminum or iron renders the appealing color to this gemstone. The blue color of paraiba tourmalines is due to the presence of the element copper in trace proportion. In addition to their brilliant and rich color, paraiba tourmalines also seem to exhibit an incandescent glow, even outside of light, that makes the stone easily stand out to the eye.

Paraiba tourmaline scores 7.5 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it one of the hardest gemstones suitable for all kinds of jewelry, particularly engagement rings. It is able to withstand the wear and tear of average everyday life while maintaining a brilliant look.

Paraiba tourmaline is said to clear up confusion and instill a sense of justice in the wearer. It is also said that wearing a paraiba tourmaline helps in making difficult decisions.

Even though paraiba tourmaline is a relatively new find, its popularity is immense due to three major factors - its vivid rich color, incredible rarity, and durability for everyday jewelry.

Not all gems are as rare as paraiba tourmaline. To put things into perspective, it is said that only one paraiba tourmaline is mined for every 10,000 diamonds. Unlike other color gemstones which are mined in many places in the world, paraiba tourmaline is not mined in abundance but rather in extremely low quantities. This rarity has led to substantial increase in its price.

Individuals seeking to increase the value of their investment are drawn towards the paraiba tourmaline. This is also most sought after by collectors around the world.

Paraiba Tourmaline Quality and Pricing Factors

The color, clarity, and cut of a paraiba tourmaline are the three key characteristics that determine its quality. The weight, treatment and origin of a paraiba tourmaline are also important elements in determining its quality. The price of a paraiba tourmaline, like that of any other gemstone, is directly proportional to its quality. All these factors are discussed hereunder in detail.


The color of a paraiba tourmaline is the most important quality criterion and it determines the price of the gemstone. The most preferred color is blue. The color should be well-distributed with a high saturation level and the stone must be transparent.


Clarity refers to the presence or absence of internal and external imperfections in a gemstone. Unlike diamonds, color gemstones do not have any universal clarity grading system. We evaluate the clarity of a paraiba tourmaline in the following manner.

  1. Holding the gemstone face up 12 inches from the eye
  2. Tilting it in various directions to visually inspect for any visible inclusions
  3. Only imperfections viewable on the crown (top part of the gemstone) are inspected and not on the pavilion (back side)

The clarity grades for paraiba tourmaline which we use and are common in the trade, are given here under.

Grading Description
Very Slightly Included Very tiny inclusions may be eye visible under close inspection or when tilting the gem
Slightly Included Tiny inclusions are eye visible
Moderately Included Inclusions are eye visible
Included Significant inclusions are eye visible

Cut / Transparency

Transparency refers to the attribute of a gemstone to let the light pass through. The more light passes through the more transparent the stone. Everyone loves transparent gems because the colors appear vivid. The only problem with higher transparency is that the flaws in the gemstone are more visible as compared to less transparent stone.

The rough of paraiba tourmaline is cut in a way to obtain the desired color saturation of the emerald since the price is primarily dependent on the color. Lighter material is cut deeper to allow the gem to hold more light and increase saturation, whereas darker material is cut shallower to allow more light to pass through the stone.

Cutting a gemstone requires a high degree of skill which is mastered with years of practice and patience.

Carat / Measurements

Carat (ct) is the primary unit to measure the weight of a gemstone. One carat equals one-fifth of a gram or one gram has five carats. The deep or the shallow cut of a paraiba tourmaline will have a bearing on its apparent size thereby making it important to consider other measurements such as. length and width which are expressed in millimeters. A 7x5mm Oval can weigh 0.80cts or 1.5cts, depending on its depth and cutting style.


Paraiba tourmalines are mined in many various countries around the world. Gemstones of varying quality can be found in all origins. The paraiba tourmaline’s origin might affect its value, especially in higher quality gemstones. Even if they are mined from a rare and prestigious location, paraiba tourmalines that are low in quality, will not receive a significant premium.

Paraiba tourmalines from coveted mines such as Brazil generally command a higher price than those from other countries. As the quality improves and the size of a gemstone increases, the premium goes up. Gemstones of low, medium, and high quality are produced by all origins. For the most part, provenance should not influence a customer's decision but rather the quality of gemstone that is desired. Kindly note that most Paraiba gems currently are being sourced from Mozambique.


Paraiba tourmalines are treated by applying heat artificially to enhance their color and make them visually more appealing. Untreated paraiba tourmalines are extremely rare and not easy to find. Most local jewelry stores sell only treated paraiba tourmalines due to limited sourcing available. Enhancements in tourmalines are used to improve or change the color in a tourmaline. Here is a list of various tourmaline treatments:

Untreated Only traditional process of cutting and polishing applied to improve the appearance or durability of the gem
Heat 99%+ of Paraiba tourmalines are heated to increase color saturation. It is a permanent treatment and is so common that in the trade if an individual asks for a Paraiba tourmaline it is understood they want a heated gemstone. Heating a Paraiba tourmaline is an art and if applied inappropriately may result in loss of color and even damage. 
Clarity Enhanced Paraiba gems tend to show significant visible imperfections and many gems therefore are clarity enhanced to improve appearance of the gem. Clarity enhancement is a common and accepted treatment for Paraibas. However, these gems trade at a slight discount to only heated gems. 

Care Instructions

Paraiba tourmaline is a fairly hard gemstone and doesn’t require much care. But here are a few things that you can do to keep your paraiba tourmaline jewelry looking new.

  1. Avoid your jewelry getting in contact with make-up, chemicals such as bleach, moisturizers & abrasives. Take your jewelry off before going for a shower or a swim. Avoid hard impact activities with your jewelry on.
  2. Use a mixture of lukewarm water and mild soap to clean your gemstone with a gentle brush. Repeat the process and soak it for a longer time if still not clean. Rinse in water and wipe with a soft cloth afterwards.
  3. Store each type of jewelry separately because the harder ones may scratch the softer ones.
  4. Perform a weekly check on everyday jewelry such as rings or earrings to ensure that the center stone is tight in its place. Tap it near your ear and if you hear any rattling sound, then it’s time to get it tightened professionally.
  5. Do not use commercial jewelry cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners for your paraiba tourmaline jewelry.