Watermelon Tourmaline – Grab a Slice of This Wonderful Gem
Named for is resemblance to a watermelon, with its pink interior and green exterior, the watermelon tourmaline is both beautiful and playful.
What is Watermelon Tourmaline
Tourmaline in general is a semi-precious gemstone that is found in a wide variety of colors. Tourmaline is also often found displaying more than one color in a single specimen. These stones are referred to in the geological world as bi-color, or multi-color tourmaline.
Watermelon tourmaline specifically, displays a pink center, concentrically surrounded by a green outer layer. Watermelon tourmaline is often cut into slices to further accentuate the resemblance to the fruit from which it gets its name.
A Brief History of Watermelon Tourmaline
Tourmaline was discovered, and recognized as a valuable gemstone, as far back as the 1300’s. While it is unclear when the first pink and green bi-color tourmaline was discovered, the name “watermelon tourmaline” was coined in the early 1900’s by George R. Howe of Norway, Maine.
Today, Brazil and Africa are the chief producers of tourmaline, with the United States and Afghanistan also producing significant amounts.
Care and Cleaning
Watermelon tourmaline is a fairly hard and tough stone, making it resistant to both scratching and breaking. Caring for a piece of watermelon tourmaline jewelry is relatively simple. As with any precious or semi-precious stone, avoid wearing the stone while working in the garden or doing any physical activity that may cause the stone to receive a sharp blow.
Because sudden changes in temperature may damage a watermelon tourmaline, avoid cleaning it in jewelry steam cleaners, which are filled with extremely hot water.
Instead, use a mild soap, some warm water, and a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt or dust that may accumulate on the stone. Let the piece air dry or dry it with a soft cloth.
Do not leave tourmaline in the hot sun or dry it with an electric hair dryer. As sudden temperature changes may damage the stone.
Watermelon Tourmaline Buying Guide
When it comes to placing value on a piece of watermelon tourmaline, color is king. The more intense the color is in the gemstone, the more valuable it is. The definition between the pink and green colors will make a difference as well. For example a stone that gradually fades from pink, to light pink, to light green, to green, will be less valuable than a stone that changes sharply from intense pink directly to intense green. An example of the latter can be seen at the top of this article.
When shopping for a piece of watermelon tourmaline it is also a good idea to examine the stone from every angle and under several different light sources. A stone that exhibits intense color under the lights of a jewelry store may look washed out under direct sunlight.
The price per carat of watermelon tourmaline is actually quite reasonable considering the unique coloring of the stone. You can find gem quality tourmaline for approximately $40-$50 per carat for stones under a carat. Larger stones, 2ct. and up, will typically sell for closer to $150-$200 per carat. Again, much of the pricing will depend on the color intensity more than the carat weight of the stone.
Both irradiation and heat treatments are fairly common to improve the color or colors of tourmaline. These treatments typically do not affect the value of the stone. Clarity enhancement, however, can affect the value of a tourmaline and should always be disclosed by the seller.
Watermelon tourmaline is a beautiful and unique stone. Its physical properties, such as its hardness and toughness, allow it to wear well. Its price makes it a stone that most average jewelry lovers can afford. So, if you are looking to add a little color to your jewelry collection, look no further than the watermelon tourmaline.