Watermelon tourmaline is an unusual gemstone that shows off the sumptuous colours of a perfectly ripe watermelon.
This unique variety of tourmaline displays a distinctive pink and green colour combination complete with clean white accents. Surprisingly affordable and highly desirable, it makes a beautiful addition to any fine jewellery collection.
The word tourmaline comes from a Sinhalese phrase, Tura Mali, meaning stones mixed with vibrant colours. Watermelon tourmaline certainly lives up to its name and it can make a fun, exotic piece that adds an extra dimension to your jewellery box. Pair it with simple colours and styles to really let your tourmaline do the talking.
We explore this special stone, its history, and its meaning, below.
How is Watermelon Tourmaline Formed?
Tourmaline is formed in rich seams (layers) throughout the earth’s crust. The gemstone is created as magma cools and cracks over long periods of time.
These cracks are filled with a solution of water and minerals, like iron and manganese. It is this unique blend of minerals that gives tourmaline, including watermelon tourmaline, its distinctive colours.
Over time this mineral blend can change as minerals deplete or environmental factors add new minerals to the mix. This means a tourmaline mine can produce several different colours of stone, from inky black and blue tourmaline imbued with iron deposits to emerald green stones shaded by chromium.
Even very slight variations in the mineral makeup can impact a stone’s colour, meaning that tourmaline with a uniform, single shade is rare.
How Was Watermelon Tourmaline Discovered?
Tourmaline was first discovered in 16th century Brazil, when, due to its vivid green colour, it was initially thought to be emerald.
It was not until the 19th century that it was classified as a distinct gemstone group. The first watermelon tourmaline's were not unearthed until 1902.
Watermelon tourmaline was first found in the US, at a mine in Maine, but has since been discovered in California and Arizona, as well as further afield in Nigeria, Brazil, Madagascar, and Afghanistan.
What Makes Watermelon Tourmaline Special?
As a watermelon tourmaline forms and grows, it is exposed to a unique blend of different minerals causing the recognisable layers of colour. They contain an unusual blend of pink and green crystals that create the striking ‘watermelon’ appearance.
Like all tourmaline varieties, watermelon tourmaline is pleochroic, meaning it has different colours, or depths of colour, when viewed from different angles.
Watermelon tourmaline is one of 11 species of tourmaline, defined by a unique chemical composition. It is a member of the Elbaite family, which is made up of the most colourful varieties of tourmaline.
Watermelon tourmaline also offers impressive hardness to go with its incredible beauty. Coming in at 7 to 7.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, its toughness makes it ideal for standing up to regular wear.
However, this toughness and the tension within the stone can make watermelon tourmaline difficult to cut and it takes an expert to shape it and reveal its true beauty. The most sought-after stones are those with the most vivid and clearly defined colours.
The Healing Powers of Watermelon Tourmaline
Tourmaline has held a place in many cultures and beliefs as a powerful healing stone. Watermelon tourmaline itself is said to be associated with the heart chakra and is said to have a healing and balancing effect on the body. It helps to relieve stress and increase your sense of compassion, sympathy, and empathy.
Whether you believe in the healing powers of stones, or not, it’s certainly an interesting take on the gemstone.
What Should I Look for When Buying Watermelon Tourmaline?
Examine the stone in several different lights to get a true impression of its colour range and look for stones with distinct and strong colour layers.
The cut can make a huge difference to how a watermelon tourmaline refracts the light and dull stones can be a result of poor cutting and polishing.
Most of all, you should look for a stone that you enjoy. It’s a bold and playful gem, and it needs to be something you love wearing.
This durable, beautiful, and unusual stone is sure to make a statement and is a unique but dazzling choice for a piece of jewellery. Step into one of our stores today to discover watermelon tourmaline and fall in love with this most exotic of gemstones.
Burrells Watermelon Tourmaline Slice Necklace