Why do you need to know Paraiba tourmaline? A very rare tourmaline variety, famous for its paradisiacal blue-green color that almost resembles neon. As if the stone gives light. The color is the result of a high concentration of copper. The color is often described as pool blue or as the color of a tropical sea.
How rare is it? Paraiba tourmaline is one of the most scarce gemstones on earth, estimated to be about 50,000 times rarer than diamonds.
When was it discovered? About thirty years ago by Heitor Dimas Barbosa in the Brazilian state of Paraíba. In 1981 he started digging and in the autumn of 1989 he finally had a find. In an old mine shaft he found a handful of stones with a color that no one had ever seen before. Since 2001 there are also sites in Nigeria and later Mozambique. Determining the origin is not easy. So make sure you have a certificate.
Price tag? The price rises to tens of thousands of euros per carat. The most expensive Paraiba tourmaline stones are bright blue-green and come from Brazil. Color is more important than clarity: blue specimens are more valuable than green ones. There are also pink and purple Paraiba tourmaline stones, but there is less demand for them.
Solid as a rock? The hardness is 7-7.5, so ideal for making and wearing jewelry.
Spotted at? Antwerp jeweler Jochen Leën put Paraiba tourmaline on the map. He is a world-renowned specialist in this kind of gemstones and markets them directly from the mine. He also incorporates them polished in his jewelry creations. Cartier, Chaumet, Chopard and Boghossian also use the stone. Jewelry or loose stones also regularly appear at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and other auction houses.
Record holder? The world’s largest Paraiba tourmaline weighs 191.87 carats. This ‘Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba’ is estimated to be worth between 25 and 125 million dollars. The stone is now mounted in a necklace and is owned by wealthy Canadian businessman Vincent Boucher.