As Jewelry Shopping Guide editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.
If you’re looking for a unique and rare gemstone, you’ve come to the right place. Paraiba tourmalines, named for the Brazilian region where they were first found, is a relatively new gemstone that has quickly become one of the most highly sought after.
With their striking color, brilliance, and incandescent glow that set them apart from other gemstones, Paraiba tourmalines are perfect for all types of jewelry.
Here’s a quick guide on everything you need to know about Paraiba tourmalines before you buy.
What is Paraiba Tourmaline?
Tourmalines have been around for centuries, but Paraiba tourmalines are a relatively new discovery. In 1988, electric neon-blue and blue-green tourmalines were discovered in Paraiba, Brazil. Paraiba tourmalines are elbaite tourmalines that get their color from traces of copper and are known for this vivid neon-like color that can only be found in this variety of tourmaline.
Because of how beautiful and unique these gemstones were, they have highly sought after. Similar tourmaline deposits were found afterward in other parts of Brazil as well as in Nigeria and Mozambique. These continued to be called Paraiba, after the place where they were originally discovered.
Paraiba Tourmaline Color
Paraiba tourmaline stands out because of its bright vivid blue color. The stone can be found in a range of hues, from neon blue, and greenish blue, to mint green and sometimes violet and purple. The most highly sought-after and best-known Paraiba tourmaline color is neon blue.
Another striking feature of these gemstones is their luminous, neon-like glow that seems to shine from within the stone. It gives the gemstone a very intriguing appearance and makes it easily distinguishable from all other gemstones. This occurs because of the presence of copper in the stone.
Is Paraiba Tourmaline Rare?
Paraiba tourmalines are extremely rare and are much rarer than diamonds (in fact, diamonds aren’t rare at all but that’s the subject of another article). It’s estimated that the ratio of Paraiba tourmalines to diamonds is 1 in every 10,000. This rarity is due to the fact that Paraiba tourmalines are only sourced from areas rich in copper, like Brazil, Mozambique, and Nigeria. All this makes the Paraiba tourmaline one of the scarcest gemstones on the planet.
Are Paraiba Tourmalines Expensive?
Paraiba tourmalines are among the most expensive tourmaline varieties. Prices can vary depending on the quality and size of the stone, but in general, a high-quality Paraiba tourmaline will cost thousands of dollars. Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines are generally higher in price than those mined from other regions.
Paraiba Tourmaline in Jewelry
Paraiba tourmaline is an excellent gemstone for jewelry and can be crafted into all jewelry types. They make stunning stud or dangle earrings, beautiful pendants, and gorgeous rings. Paraiba tourmalines add that pop of luxurious color to elevate your look. These gemstones are especially beautiful under lights as their sparkle and glow are enhanced.
These gemstones can be cut into all popular gemstone shapes, and because of their transparency, are especially beautiful and brilliant when faceted. However, Paraiba tourmaline cut en cabochon is also very attractive, emphasizing the stone’s color and internal glow.
Is a Paraiba Engagement Ring a Good Idea?
There’s no denying that a Paraiba tourmaline engagement ring is an eye-catching choice. Pair the stone with a white gold setting and add in some diamond melees for a stunning gemstone that’s sure to stand out. When set in yellow or rose gold settings, a Paraiba tourmaline creates a distinct, vintage look that is classic and sophisticated. The choice is yours.
A little Paraiba tourmaline tends to go a long way, thanks to its electric color. If you find that a large stone is beyond your budget, you could still opt for a smaller Paraiba tourmaline gemstone and have it set expertly to maximize the stone’s appearance.
Having said that, note that a Paraiba tourmaline isn’t as durable as common engagement ring gemstone choices, like sapphire, diamonds, or rubies. You would need to take care of the stone and ensure that it’s kept clean and free from excessive exposure to prolong its life.
While we don’t recommend Paraiba tourmaline engagement rings, if set in a protective setting, like a bezel setting or a halo setting, and taken reasonable care of, it can be a great option.
Paraiba Tourmaline Enhancements and Treatments
The most important grading feature of a Paraiba tourmaline is its saturation, and as a result, stones are generally heat treated to enhance the tone and brightness. This is also known as a ‘burning process’.
This is a common industry practice and doesn’t necessarily lower the value of a stone. In fact, most Paraiba gemstones on the market have been heat treated to get rid of any unwanted pink or red hues. However, your retailer should disclose any treatments that have been done on the stone.
Paraiba Tourmaline Imitations
Because of the scarcity and value of Paraiba tourmalines, sometimes similar looking less valuable gemstones can be sold in their place. Apatite is a popular Paraiba tourmaline simulant. It’s a real gemstone in its own right but is much less valuable.
Some other simulants include glass and synthetic hydrothermal beryl. This is why it’s important to purchase from a reliable retailer as distinguishing Paraiba tourmaline from these imitations can be difficult.
Cleaning and Caring for Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba tourmaline, like other tourmaline varieties, ranks 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. This is relatively durable and is a wearable gemstone. When taking care of your Paraiba tourmaline, make sure you don’t expose the stone to harsh chemicals or use ultrasonic cleaners to clean the stone. Instead, use mild soap and warm water to gently wash the Paraiba tourmaline and dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.
When storing Paraiba tourmaline, ensure that the stone is placed in a separate jewelry box or pouch. Harder gemstones or metal can scratch Paraiba tourmaline so avoid storing these together.
Paraiba Tourmaline Meaning and Symbolism
Paraiba tourmaline is the birthstone for the month of October. As such, it makes an excellent gift for someone born in that month. Tourmalines have been valued throughout history as a stone of power and meaning. The Paraiba tourmaline, albeit relatively new, is believed to hold properties that can strengthen your insight and intuition. It is thought to assist in clearing a person’s mental state and assisting in viewing situations with greater insight.
Paraiba tourmaline is thought to help with releasing stress and negative energy. It’s often thought of as a protective stone and can be worn as an amulet to ward off evil.
As a gemstone with electric energy within, the Paraiba tourmaline is thought to be a stone with great energy. This energy can inspire and assist the owner of the stone.
*Disclaimer: Jewelry Shopping Guide does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Where to Buy Paraiba Tourmaline
Because of its rarity, this is not a gemstone that you would normally come across at your local jewelers. As a result, the options to purchase a Paraiba tourmaline are often limited. We suggest taking your search online, where you can access competitive prices and a wide range of options.
It’s important to ensure that you’re purchasing from a trustworthy source as some unscrupulous retailers can try to pass off imitations as the real thing. Ask for certification and if the stone has undergone any treatments.
We recommend starting your search on Etsy and Amazon as they bring together some of the best in the business to offer their amazing products on one platform.
Etsy has a wide range of Paraiba tourmaline loose gemstones and jewelry offered at a range of prices. From a few hundred to thousands of dollars, there’s something to suit everyone’s budget. You can find multiple independent jewelry boutiques on Etsy, each with its own policies so it might take some time to review all their details ahead of making a purchase, but that’s usually time well spent.
As it is one of the biggest online retailers worldwide, Amazon has an impressive range of Paraiba tourmaline jewelry and gemstones for every shopper. Representatives from many different jewelry vendors offer their products on Amazon and you can use the site’s extensive rating and review sections to gauge the quality of each product.