Back in 1971, the state of Maine designated the tourmaline as Vacationland’s official gemstone.
Tourmalines ranges in color from black, white or distinctive shades of red, green, and blue. Watermelon Maine tourmaline are multi-colored, a variation of red, pink and green. The “watermelon” variety feature a green outer layer surrounding a pink core.
The tourmaline gemstone crystals can be opaque or transparent. And with the many shades of single or many color combinations, each stone like people, snowflakes, sunrises or sunsets is unique.
The first major Maine tourmaline gem stone discovery happened in 1820 in Mount Mica in Paris ME. Very few naturally occurring tourmalines are suitable for use as gemstones because they are not free of inclusions, imperfections. Maine’s most common type of tourmaline is a black variety called schorl, which has no value as a gem stone.
One single Tourmaline crystal can radiate up to four different colors.
Subtle combinations occur with the chemical composition, crystal structure variations many years ago when the tourmaline crystal was formed. Some Maine tourmalines may be purposely cut so that the stone may be green on one end, pink on the other. Tourmaline was the first gemstone to be mined commercially in North America.
For over 2000 years, Tourmaline has been a treasured gemstone. In over 200 recognized hues, far more than any other gemstone. Some colors are so rare, like yellow or some purple ones that they don’t even have names, designations beyond the hues. The more rare, the more valuable. And like anything beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When you study say a green tourmaline to purchase for a loved one, yourself, the shade of green, the saturation richness of the color and the cut, size of the stone all enter in to the experience when you behold one.
I don’t wear jewelry beyond a gold ring that was my great uncle Finley’s with his initials engraved on it. But I have always had a fascination with stones, the Maine tourmaline. I guess because they come from this state which is not know for gem mines of many kinds. And because like any stone you know it took millions of years to form and are not whipped up, passed out at a drive through window. Like panning for gold, you can also spend some time looking for your own Maine tourmaline in the rough, raw natural mine. The tourmaline is not unique to Maine.
As for eye candy, I have trouble resisting studying the spotlighted images of Maine tourmaline gemstones.
Like the ones that grace ads for Cross Jewelers in Downeast Magazine monthly editions. Buying something you give away to a loved one is one of the most rewarding experiences you can ever engage in. Have a birthday, special occasion, wedding anniversary coming up and stumped on what to get? Consider a specially cut, shaped, colored Maine tourmaline as a present. Or Maine lobsters, clams, blueberries, fiddleheads and potatoes can make a lasting impression when it is time to sit down to eat too!
Maine, always simple but something special discovered anytime you can get away to spend time with her. Visit Maine, find your space, your place.