05-14. Tourmaline – Elbaite #1.
Week 2 of this short exploration of the tourmaline geometry. The Elbaite has a similar geometry structure than the Dravite but its chemical composition is different. It should make for interesting compositions in terms of color and density of shapes.
Elbaite comes in virtually every color of the spectrum and has unique optical properties. Many green and blue specimens are strongly pleochroic. When viewed through their vertical axis, they appear darker in color than when seen through their horizontal axis. Certain Elbaites exhibit a cat’s eye effect when polished.
Brazil, Afghanistan, Italy are some of the countries where some of the most beautiful minerals were found.
Dutch traders brought tourmaline to Europe in the 1700s. They gave it the name, Aschentrekker, or “ash puller,” because they used the crystals to pull ashes from their Meerschaum pipes. This ability to gain magnetic powers and become electrically “polar” by means of heat distinguishes Tourmaline from most other gems. It is doubtful this custom is still practiced today considering the value of the gems!
From a resource by Bosi, Andreozzi, Federico, Graziani, Lucchesi: crystal chemistry of the elbaite-schorl series, Minas Gerais, Brazil.