Watermelon tourmaline - a mineral with pleochroism (12 photos)

21 December 2023

Tourmalines are semi-precious stones, and due to their rich composition (more than 25 chemical elements) they are characterized by a rich color palette. Pink, transparent, green and even black stones - the color depends on the predominance of one or another element.

Watermelon tourmaline is one of the most spectacular varieties of polychrome tourmalines. The red-green color of such tourmalines resembles a watermelon in cross-section. Watermelon tourmalines usually come in two types: with a pink center and green edges, or vice versa: with a green core and a pink frame.

The vibrant Ceylon gem tourmalines were brought to Europe in large quantities by the Dutch East India Company to satisfy the demand for curiosities and gemstones.

Natural watermelon tourmaline is one of the rarest and most collectible stones, and even though it looks like it might not be a natural gemstone, it is 100% natural.

The juicy pink-red core with a green edging resembles the pulp of a sweet fruit.

Like all tourmalines, watermelon stone is characterized by glassy luster, zonal distribution of colors, uneven fracture and fragility.

Typically, watermelon tourmaline is cut into slices to showcase the stone's natural color variation. In crystal slices, the pink core is surrounded by a pale green ring and then a darker green ring, making this rare stone look like a slice of watermelon.

Tourmalines are widely used in industry and science. These are radio and microelectronics, medical devices.

Natural watermelon tourmaline costs between $900 and $1,500 per carat. There are a lot of fakes. Often, ordinary glass is passed off as a multi-colored stone. But producing a high-quality copy of watermelon tourmaline is quite difficult and expensive - it doesn’t pay for itself.

It’s easy to check whether a multi-colored stone is natural:

tourmaline is electrified;

if you heat it up a little (you can do it in your hands), it will attract hair and small pieces of paper;

tourmaline is difficult to scratch, unlike glass;

Natural stones have a softer color transition; perfectly clear boundaries should alert you.

One of the main features of tourmaline is pleochroism.

Tourmaline pleochroism

Pleochroism is the ability of some anisotropic crystals, including birefringent minerals, to exhibit different colors in the light passing through them when viewed from different directions.

Without a doubt, it can be argued that watermelon tourmaline is the most original of this type of minerals!

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