Sources: Afghanistan, Mozambique, Nigeria, Namibia, Brazil
Tourmaline originates from the Sinhalese word "turmali" meaning gemstone and is a group comprised of several crystal species. Most gem-variety tourmalines are part of the Elbaite species. Crystals most often form in pegmatite veins deep within mountainous regions. Trace elements cause the variations in gem colors; manganese causes vivid reds and pinks, chromium produces the intense green color in chrome tourmaline, iron produces the deep blue hues of indicolite and trace amounts of copper cause the neon-blue/green coloring of Paraiba.
Thanks to pleochroism, tourmalines can display colors which appear distinct when observed at different angles. This adds mysterious shades to its color and requires the cutter to pay extra attention when orienting the facets. The highest quality tourmaline crystals are cut to maximize the beauty of its color rather than to save weight.
Tourmaline is the birthstone for October and a talisman for Libra