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Paraiba Tourmaline a Rare and Expensive Gemstone

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Mazlan has an affinity for insightful facts that he loves to share with others.

Paraiba Tourmaline a Rare and Expensive Gemstone

Paraiba Tourmaline a Rare and Expensive Gemstone

Paraiba Tourmaline Price per Carat

Paraiba Tourmaline gemstone is one of the rarest and most expensive gemstones in the world. Although not listed in the top ten most expensive gemstones category, it was trading between US$10,000 to US$50,000 +/- per carat depending on the size and quality of the gemstone. The most expensive gemstone is Jadeite, which is over US$3 m per carat.

Paraiba stones usually come in sizes less than one carat and it is rare to find them in sizes more than one carat.

Paraiba Tourmaline from Brazil

It is a relatively new gemstone and was discovered only in the late '80s by Heitor Dimas Barbosa in Paraiba, Brazil. That is how it got its name. Besides Brazil, these gemstones are also mined in Nigeria and Mozambique.

It made its debut at the annual Tucson, Arizona gem show in the early '90s and became an immediate hit. It is rare for such a new gem variety to cause so much excitement in the gemstone world, and so quickly.

Why Paraiba Tourmalines Are Unique and Exciting

The excitement is probably due to its color. It has a unique neon blue, a blue-green glow that people described as 'neon' or 'electric' which is a cross between green, blue and turquoise.

Paraiba also has an intense shine and glow, with an intensity that is not commonly found in other gemstones.

Paraiba stone crystal

Paraiba stone crystal

Paraiba Tourmaline Color

This striking green and turquoise hue are due to the high proportions of copper. It is also responsible for the deep glow.

In order to remove other minerals such as manganese that are present in the stone, a 'burning' under high heat technique is used. This is part of the gemstone's cutting process. This leaves only copper, in a concentrated form to produce a gemstone that has pure vivid color.

Paraiba Tourmaline Stone

If you buy a Paraiba gemstone and that has not gone through the 'burning' process, then it is not a Parabai tourmaline.

This vivid color is only seen in cut and faceted Paraiba stone and it is not present in the uncut stone. This unusual glow, which is sometimes described as 'fire' makes Paraiba a highly collectible gemstone. The most prized and expensive are those with the intense 'neon blue' color.

Tourmaline Gemstone Color Varieties

Tourmaline's wide range of colors also separate them into several varieties and prices, which are:

  • Green tourmaline, also known as Verdelite.
  • Chrome green tourmaline, also known as Chrome Tourmaline.
  • Rainbow tourmaline, also known as Elbaite.
  • Dark pink to red tourmaline or Rubellite.
  • Light to dark blue tourmaline or Indicolite or Indigolite.
  • Brown tourmaline or Dravite.
  • Colorless or clear tourmaline or Achroite.
  • Black tourmaline or Schorl.
  • Watermelon tourmaline with a red center and green outer layer or vice versa.
  • Purple tourmaline or Siberite

But the most expensive and rarest tourmaline is the Paraiba variety, for its neon blue glow colored by traces of copper.

Tourmaline Gemstone Variety of Colors

Tourmaline Gemstone Variety of Colors

Why is the Paraiba Tourmaline Expensive?

The relatively high price for Paraiba gemstone in the jewelry making business is due to several reasons:

  • The attractive color of Paraiba has increased the popularity and demand worldwide
  • It is a rare gemstone
  • Can only be found in Brazil, Nigeria, and Mozambique in areas that are rich in copper
  • It is manually mined with wedges and a sledgehammer, and the mining conditions are tough. The rough Paraiba gemstone can only be found in small veins within the stone

Paraiba Tourmalines are priced and evaluated in a similar manner as diamonds. It uses the four C’s of cut, color, carat, and clarity.

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Why is Paraiba Gemstone Rare

Within a short period of Paraiba tourmaline discovery in Brazil in 1987, the mine was completely mined and fully depleted of this gemstone.

Paraiba Tourmaline from Mozambique and Nigeria

Then, about a decade later similar gemstones were discovered in Nigeria in 2001 and Mozambique in 2004. Within a short span, these were also completely mined.

This is mainly due to the small number of tourmalines in the stone veins.

With no more mines and other known sources, the Paraiba tourmaline gemstone remains a rare and priceless gemstone.

Paraiba Tourmaline from Mozambique and Nigeria are cheaper compared to Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline and are from US$2,000 to US$15,000 +/- per carat.

Where to Buy Parabai Gemstones

Just like most expensive gemstones and jewelry, Paraiba tourmalines are sold mainly in the most upscale and upmarket jewelry stores.

However, you can also buy them online from reputable designers and stores and even on eBay. Be extra careful and do your research when you buy these gemstones online and buy only from reputable sellers.

Lawsuit on the Use of Paraiba Name

Stones mined in Nigeria and Mozambique do not have the same brilliant and vivid color as those mined in Brazil. However, they were still called Paraiba gemstone.

In the original lawsuit, claimed that the name Paraíba was wrongly used and hijacked by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and other companies to describe similar gemstones mined from other countries. They claimed these stones are of inferior quality and hence, should not use the term Paraiba. It should only be used to describe gemstones mined in Paraiba, Brazil.

Unfortunately, lost and the lawsuit was dismissed. The name ‘Paraíba’ can now be used to describe gemstones of such composition and characteristic that are not only mined in Paraiba, Brazil, but also from Nigeria and Mozambique.

Paraiba Tourmaline Jewelry- a Real Treasure

Paraiba Gemstone Continues to Be Favorites with Buyers

The AGTA or American Gem Trade Association's Gem Fair show is considered and judged as a reliable source of the hottest and latest gemstone trend.

Based on the 2012 show, gemstones that were in the buyer's favorite list include the Paraiba Tourmaline. This favorite gemstone trend continues even in 2019.

This is not a surprise as Paraiba's color, luminosity, and rarity have achieved great popularity not with buyers, but also with jewelry designers.

FAQs on Paraiba Tourmaline and Tourmaline Gemstones

These are some of the FAQs on Paraiba tourmaline and tourmaline gemstones for your references:

What is the Rarest Color of Tourmaline?

The color of Paraiba tourmaline, i.e. the unique neon blue and blue-green glow that is colored by traces of copper.

Is Paraiba Tourmaline More Expensive Than Diamond?

Paraiba tourmaline is more expensive selling from $10,000 onwards per carat and diamond from $6,000 onwards per carat. Paraiba tourmaline is also rarer compared to diamond, which makes it more expensive.

What are the Differences Between Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline and African Paraiba Tourmaline?

To the naked eye or by the standard gemological testing, you can't tell the differences. You have to do chemical testing and the differences are:

  • Color: Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline is of neon blue to turquoise in color, Mozambique tourmaline has less copper and is a shade lighter. Nigerian tourmaline has a wide range of colors.
  • Chemical Content: Based on Tourmaline Chemical Fingerprinting Report, all three have copper (Cu), but Brazilian tourmaline has more magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), and antimony (Sb). Nigerian tourmaline has more gallium (Ga), germanium (Ge), and lead (Pb). Mozambique tourmaline has a greater amount of beryllium (Be), scandium (Sc), Ga, Pb, and bismuth (Bi), but lacked Mg.

Where is Tourmaline Found?

Tourmaline gemstones can be found all over the world including Brazil and many parts of Africa, i.e. Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Congo and Namibia. In Asia, there are found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Indonesia and India. Other parts of the world include the USA, Russia and Australia.

What are the Differences Between Tourmaline and Emerald?

Chrome tourmaline is the closest in color to emerald and the differences and similarities are:

  • Both are colored by the chemical, chromium to give that striking green hue.
  • Chrome tourmaline has higher clarity than emerald.
  • Chrome tourmaline is darker in color compared to emerald.
  • Chrome tourmalines can only be found in Tanzania and are rarer than emeralds.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Mazlan A


Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on October 28, 2012:

@billybuc, Thanks for dropping by and I am glad this hub has enlighten you on Paraiba gemstone

@teaches12345 . Paraiba is indeed a pretty gemstone. I went to the jewelry shop to view their Paraiba collection and both my wife and I were mesmerized by the color. Cannot afford to buy though!

Always enjoy hearing from both of you!

Dianna Mendez on October 27, 2012:

This is a very pretty gemstone. I love to just look at the lights reflected from them. I don't know if I will ever own one, but it is nice to look at them. Interesting facts and trivia on this beautiful stone.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 26, 2012:

I know practically nothing about gemstones, so I found this interesting and informative. Good job and thanks for the education.

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