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Elbaite (Tourmaline Family)

The tourmaline family consists of more than 14 distinct minerals, but only one, elbaite, accounts for nearly all of the tourmaline gemstones. Although best known in shades of green and red, elbaite also can be blue, purple, yellow or colorless. In the late 1990’s, copper-containing blue tourmaline was found in Nigeria. The material was generally paler and less saturated than the much prized Brazilian “Paraiba” stones, but the Nigerian gems typically had fewer inclusions. This unusually large tourmaline gem exhibits a beautiful sea-blue color that is very rare and highly prized. This important stone was acquired through the generous donation of the Ashley Foundation in 2007. The color, size, and source of this tourmaline make it a wonderful addition to the National Gem Collection.

Image Number: Ken Larsen
Catalog Number: G10524
Weight: 26.48 carats
Gift of the Richard Ashley Foundation , 2007


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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits