History of Maine Tourmaline
Tourmaline was first discovered in 1820 on Mt. Mica in Paris, Maine, the year that Maine became the 23rd State. Two students interested in minerology were exploring the Maine woods when they caught a glimpse of something green sparkling within the roots of an upturned tree. The snowy Maine winter prevented the boys from continuing their search, however, when Spring arrived, they returned to find many more shimmering crystals of Maine Tourmaline which they in turn sent to Yale University for examination. Yale identified these crystals as Tourmaline, which later became known as the American Gem.
The name tourmaline originates from the Sinhalese word “turmali” which literally means “something out of the earth”. Tourmaline is found not only in Maine and a few other states in the US, but in other areas of the world such as Brazil, Africa and Russia.
In 1972 there was a major new discovery of 3 ½ million carats of gem quality Maine tourmaline on nearby Plumbago Mountain in Newry, Maine. The find represents the most significant and highest grade of tourmaline found anywhere in the world and is recognized as the largest gem find in North America! It was at this time that tourmaline was denoted the “Maine State Gemstone”
In the decade following the famous Plumago Mountain find, Maine gained world fame as the source for the finest quality gem tourmaline in the world. There have been tourmaline specimens mined in Maine that the richness of color, clarity and quality have far exceeded stones from areas around the world.
Maine tourmaline has been found in all varieties of colors. From pastel through ruby red pinks to apple and deep rich greens. The rarest gem color native to Maine is the beautiful blue tourmaline which is sometimes called Indicolite. The shades of blue tourmaline can run from deep green-blues and lighter shades of crisp, icy blue to almost sapphire blue. Maine blue tourmaline commands a higher value than other colors due to its beauty and rarity. Another unique and exquisite color of Maine tourmaline is known to many as “watermelon” tourmaline which is a rare combination of two varieties of tourmaline found in a single crystal. This variety of tourmaline was first discovered in Newry, Maine back in 1902 and the crystal is composed of a large core of deep red tourmaline surrounded by a rind of green tourmaline. This variety of tourmaline can showcase its beauty when cut in a “slice” form when it truly does appear as a slice of watermelon or very often will be cut in emerald cut or elongated baguette shapes and more often be referred to as bi or tri-color tourmaline, depending on the number of colors that appear in the crystal.
Owning a piece of Maine tourmaline or a piece of jewelry crafted with Maine tourmaline is surely a treasure to behold! Although the find in 1972 was immense, this beautiful gem of Maine is becoming increasingly scarce. There continues to be mining of Maine tourmaline to this day and the quality and quantity of these future explorations are unknown. All we can say is that tourmaline, especially Maine tourmaline, is one of the most spectacular gems that nature has produced. Tourmaline contributes the widest range of colors of any other gemstone and is a gem that is a pleasure to own, whether you are a lover of Maine or simply a lover of colored gems. We are very proud to call tourmaline our Maine State Gemstone!
Maine Tourmaline Jewelry
Coastal Jewelers features one of the largest collections of Maine and imported Tourmaline jewelry in the state of Maine. We strive to carry as much Maine Tourmaline as we can, hand selecting the finest gemstones from the best dealers in the state and around the world. When Maine tourmaline is not readily available in certain colors, we do fill in with beautiful tourmaline gems from other areas of the world such as Brazil and Africa. All of our tourmaline jewelry is made with the utmost attention to detail and care, with quality being the number one priority.
When hand selecting our Maine and imported tourmaline, we first look for intensity in color and then attempt to pick the cleanest, most brilliant stones with the best cuts. We design all of our pieces in the store by either working with our US based jewelry manufactures and having our local jewelers set our stones or by sketching out our own designs and working with our computer programmers to custom make our very own pieces for us. We love sitting down with clients to re-purpose jewelry they are no longer wearing or create a new jewelry piece from scratch with Maine Tourmaline or whatever gemstones they choose. Custom design is our specialty!
Coastal Jewelers has a huge inventory of Maine tourmaline rings, earrings, pendants and bracelets in 14k yellow, white and rose gold as well as sterling silver. We are happy to custom make a piece in platinum for our clients. Our Maine tourmaline jewelry comes in a rainbow of colors that includes soft pink to a vibrant rubellite or raspberry pink, light mint green to a deep green, deep indicolite blue to a blue green and the beautiful bi to tri color watermelon tourmaline. Maine tourmaline comes in a wonderful variety of shades within each color group making the jewelry possibilities endless!
Tourmaline jewelry has been worn for hundreds of years and coveted by those who wear it. Maine tourmaline, due to its scarcity, is considered one of the more valuable and rare varieties of tourmaline. Paraiba tourmaline, a copper bearing variety from Brazil is also a very rare and valuable form fetching prices upwards of $50,000 and more per carat.
We hope you can stop by and see our extension collection of Maine tourmaline jewelry and see why we are so proud to call tourmaline “Maine’s State Stone”.