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​Healing Benefits of Tourmaline: Exploring the Mysticism

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At Luciam Designs, we use Tourmaline quite often in our jewelry designs for its impressive versatility and range of color. In fact the name comes from the Singhalese words 'tura mali', which means 'stone with mixed colors’. In the 17th century, the Dutch were responsible for importing Tourmaline from Sri Lanka and introducing the coveted gemstone to European nations. Today, Tourmaline is mostly mined from Brazil and Africa, but there are many sources worldwide, including California. Still in high-demand among collectors, Tourmaline reigns as the most-unique gemstone, as no two are ever alike.

It’s Complicated

Come to find out that there is more to Tourmaline that just a pretty bauble. It is a fascinating little gem, not only for its rich history of mysticism and intrigue, but its chemical properties that render it employable in modern medicine, science, and manufacturing. Like many semi-precious stones, its magical reputation dates back to ancient and medieval times, when it was believed that Tourmaline had special powers to protect against evil, harness creativity, and heal the body. Much of those ancient beliefs may seem fantastical today, but the origins are actually rooted in real science.

Not only is the semi-precious gemstone available in every color of the rainbow, but individual stones are often multicolored, aptly called watermelon tourmaline for its variegated green and pink hues within the crystal. Many forms of the gemstone are also pleochronic, which means that optically they change colors depending on the angle of view. The most colorful and chemically complicated of all the gemstones, Tourmaline is not actually a single mineral, but a group of silicate minerals composed of various compounds of 30 different elements such as aluminum, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, and potassium that make up the Tourmaline group. The varying concentrations and combinations of the elements such as iron, lithium or copper are what give these stones their multitude of shades, making them exquisitely unique and in some cases, rare, depending on their geographical source. As early as 1880, scientists discovered that these crystals exhibit piezoelectricity, meaning, under pressure or heat, they can generate an electrical pulse and therefore, a myriad of practical uses.

Controversy in the Air

It’s no surprise that a complicated and colorful character such as Tourmaline comes with a little controversy. It has been long since established that Tourmaline, under pressure, emits negative ions, which neutralize free radicals in the air. Free radicals, or positive ions are unstable molecules that are, in the most simplistic terms, in need of a negative ion to become stable. Long story short, free radicals in the air can cause damage to cell membranes resulting premature aging, skin cancer, tissue damage and cell death. That, mes amis, has been scientifically proven even among our ever-so-skeptical western medicine practitioners. If we venture to the Far East, numerous studies in Japan suggest that negative ions have many health benefits including revitalized cell metabolism and enhanced immune function. Negative ions also protect the body and mind from the harmful effects of environmental stressors. Today, Tourmaline can be found in air purifiers and other devices that are used as a homeopathic means to detoxify and purify the environment. It certainly makes sense why the stone was revered by spiritualists and ancient healers as having magical powers.

Connecting to Nature

Whether there is strong, substantiated evidence that Tourmaline can heal the body is yet to be published in medical journals. There are, moreover, reported personal accounts of remarkable results which may be a combination of mind and body working as one, and we think that is just fine. A cure for cancer, this is not, but if you’re looking for a personal talisman to connect you to nature, Tourmaline is an obvious choice. There is no dispute, however, as to Tourmaline’s mythical quality, rich history, and unsurpassed beauty as the complicated darling of the gemstone world. Along with Opal it is also the birthstone for October and an eighth anniversary gift. And as someone who considers jewelry an artistic celebration of self, I like to know the story behind what I adorn. I have a particular place in my heart for the intricate tale of Tourmaline.

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