A semi-precious gemstone, the pink tourmaline is among the most highly sought after of minerals. Buyers who love a wide range and intensity of colours in their gemstones can appreciate the tourmalines. It is simple to identify the pink tourmaline and select the best quality stone for your money.
Identifying Pink Tourmaline
Tourmalines are a family of stones with similar properties. The pink tourmaline, also known as Rubellite, is fairly easy to spot amongst a group of these gemstones. Tourmalines come in a wide range of colours, including greens, blues, reds, purples, and pinks. Only the dark pink and red-coloured tourmalines are sold as Rubellites. Identifying a tourmaline takes a little more effort. The real stone is quite hard, with a rating of seven on the Mohs scale of hardness. If possible, try scratching the stone with a stainless steel knife. If the knife leaves a scratch, the stone is likely not tourmaline. Another option is to look at the stone under artificial lighting. Tourmalines change colours slightly under light. Pink tourmalines can shift to a brownish or muddy colour, but other colour changes are possible too.
Natural Versus Heat-Treated Gemstones
Pink tourmalines are found in a range of intensities from pale to nearly red. The more intensely coloured stones are more valuable. Often, pale pink tourmalines are heat-treated or irradiated to intensify the colour. These treatments can also improve the clarity and quality of a stone. The colour changes created through heat-treatment are generally permanent, but those created by irradiation may be unstable and reverse when the stone is exposed to high temperatures. Some tourmalines with major inclusion may also get clarity-enhancement in the form of drilling and removal of the inclusion or fracture filling with a special glass.
Selecting a Quality Tourmaline
Choosing a quality pink tourmaline involves looking both at the colour, but also the clarity of the stone. Most pink tourmalines have a number of inclusions, so this does not generally lower the price of the stone. However, relatively clear stones are more expensive due to their beauty and rarity. Affordable stones with few to no visible inclusions have probably received a clarity treatment. High quality pink tourmalines have a rich depth of colour, even pale ones, and rival rubies in their intensity. Bi-colour stones featuring two or more hues of colour, usually green and pink, are among the most valuable. The best quality bi-colour stones feature a clear delineation of colours with boundaries and no inclusions.