If you've never heard of the watermelon tourmaline before your mind is about to be blown! Its called the watermelon tourmaline because it looks just like a watermelon. This will most likely be a gem that you won't see a lot of people wearing. For one, they are pretty rare and two their rarity makes them a bit pricey to purchase.
The term tourmaline is actually derived from the Singhalese phrase - Tura Mali. It means stones mixed with vibrant colors. While the watermelon tourmaline is not the strongest stone around - it is pretty durable at 7-7.5 on the Moh's Scale. What is really special about this stone isn't the durability it's the color, which is eye-catching, unique, and considered one of the favorites among jewelry designers.
Where Are They Found?
While the watermelon tourmaline was originally found in 1902 in a mine in Newry Maine, this gem can be found all over the world, including Madagascar, Nigeria, Brazil, and even Afghanistan. In the 1970s a pretty large pocket of the highest quality of watermelon tourmaline's ever seen was found nearby the Plumbago Gem Pit.
Brazil is also renowned for having some of the clearest and highest gem quality watermelon tourmalines around.
What Do These Gems Look Like?
As the name suggests, these watermelon tourmalines look just like a cut open watermelon. The outside of the gem is green, while under that is a pale pink or white sliver and then its all surrounded by a pink center.
But, don't let the name fool you. Not all of the stones there that are classified as watermelon tourmaline look the same. Some of them look just like a copy of a watermelon, while others have less bright colors.
These types of stones can also be pretty expensive/worth a lot of money, depending on the gem itself. If it has vivid colors and the colors are clearly separated - these tend to be very rare and they are worth more money. Most jewelers will tell you that if you have a watermelon tourmaline that is clear and clean, you can get anywhere between $500 to $600 per carat in Europe.
All of the different gems in the tourmaline family are mixed crystals which contain lithium, potassium, iron, sodium or manganese. While this gem was first found in Brazil in the 11th century, the green part of the stone was immediately mistaken for emeralds. You can't blame them too much. To the untrained eye, the green definitely looks like an emerald. It's an honest mistake.
It wasn't until many years later in the 19th century that these were classified as the tourmaline we know today.
Many different jewelers work with and love watermelon tourmaline, but what they really love is how each stone, although it's classified the same, looks different. These stones can also be cut and sliced to create a different look as well.
Some of these stones literally look like a slice of watermelon that has just been cut, while others are pear-shaped, and others are even cut into rectangular shapes so you can really see all of the different layers to the watermelon tourmaline.
If you're the type of person who loves jewelry, but you really love a piece that is unique and won't be commonly seen as much as something like a diamond, the watermelon tourmaline might be just what you need.