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October Birthstone - Tourmaline

October brings all the prospect of change, with leaves turning colors, cool breezes, and talk of Christmas just around the corner. But, WAIT! Let's enjoy the moment, and not get too ahead of ourselves, talking about the winter holidays.

Speaking of changing colors, the birthstone for October is tourmaline.

Tourmaline is extremely popular among collectors and is a well-known gemstone. It is the most multicolored mineral type known, occurring in virtually every color of the spectrum. Individual stones are often multicolored and are unsurpassed in their beauty.  Of course, some colors are more rare than others. Typically, pink and green is what comes to mind, but there are others and depending on the color range, they have specific names for the type.

Brazil has been the world's leading source of tourmaline for nearly 500 years. In the 1500s Portuguese explorers obtained green and blue tourmaline from indigenous people and from panning streams in search for gold. They thought that these colorful stones were emeralds and sapphires and sent them back to Portugal where they were cut into gems. The misidentification of these gems was not discovered until over 100 years later. Since the late 1800s, a steady stream of tourmaline discoveries have been made in Brazil, and a diverse stream of tourmaline gem materials have supplied the gem and jewelry market. 

The first commercial gemstone mine in the United States followed an 1821 discovery of tourmaline near the town of Paris, Maine. Over the past 200 years, significant amounts of tourmaline have been produced in Maine, California and other states from periodic discoveries.

When you come into b. shannon designs, feel free to let Brooke know that you would like to see the selection of tourmaline available. You will be amazed at the variety!

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