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Gemstones that display multiple colors are quite rare and unusual. Some gemstones display different colors under changing lighting conditions and are known as color change gemstones. Others gemstones will display different colors when viewed from different angles.
These gemstones are known as diachroic (two colors) or pleochroic (more than two colors). This phenomenon is caused by the double refraction of light.
But some special gemstones will display multiple colors under the same viewing conditions. These bicolor and multicolor gemstones often have regions or zones of different colors.
Tourmaline especially is known for this property, though it can also be found in other varieties, such as Fluorite and Ametrine. Tourmaline (like Beryl, Quartz, Sapphire, and Spinel) is colorless when pure. It is from the presence of small quantities of one or more coloring agents that give these gemstones their distinctive colors.
Gemstones with this property are known as allochromatic. It typically traces elements with atomic numbers in the range of 22 to 29 that cause the distinctive colors: chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, titanium, and vanadium.
Tourmaline seems to be particularly susceptible to absorb trace elements during its formation. Green Tourmaline, resulting from the presence of iron; and Pink Tourmaline, resulting from manganese, are the most common.
Some Tourmalines provide a visual record of their crystal growth by displaying two or more areas of different colors. These are known as bi-color or tri-color Tourmalines. Most often, they feature combinations of green and pink or some variation. The color range is quite broad, ranging from orange to purple to brownish-pink and blue-green to apple-green. High-quality specimens are valued by collectors and make beautiful and unique jewelry.
Bi-color Tourmalines are found in most of the tourmaline deposits in the world, including Afghanistan, Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, and the USA.
Featured Gemstones from our Collection: This month we are featuring a range of fine Bi-Color Tourmalines from Afghanistan. Click on any gemstone photo for details.
A stunning Bi-color Tourmaline from Afghanistan, 10.8 x 6.9 x 5.1 mm in length! A clean, bright, and expertly cut stone that will make an amazing ring.
A Flawless Bi-color tourmaline from Africa. A beautiful color combination, this is a really gorgeous gemstone with purplish-pink color.
A lovely Bi-Color Tourmaline from Afghanistan, with gradients of green, and blue. This is a perfectly clean material that has been perfectly cut and polished to perfection. This is a superb gem Tourmaline for anyone’s collection.
A splendid Bi-Color Tourmaline Facet Rough from Afghanistan with gradients of green and pink. These rough tourmalines were hand-selected from a lot, and are perfectly clean. Just a gorgeous rough gem Tourmaline for anyone’s collection.
This beautiful and sculptural specimen of multi-color elbaite variety Tourmaline with very nice color variations. Blue seafoam color top complex termination with emerald green midsection and rubellite pink bottom. It is double terminated with perfect side crystals and nice detailed white albite. Indeed, a pretty neat large cabinet piece in such aesthetic and perfection!
Tourmaline from Paprok is scarce but exceptional and is often imbued with glassy luster, and distinct zoning in attractive, pastel colors. This beautiful example exhibits excellent morphology, great translucency and luster, and a lovely combination of colors in pink, apple-green, with hints of yellow. What really distinguishes this example, however, is its unique, rhombohedral termination with beveled edges.
In some instances, tourmalines can, in fact, have a rhombohedral termination, which gives this specimen a very distinct aesthetic flare. Adding to the visual interest, even more, are slender side-car crystals that add an element of texture to the already unique shape. This specimen would make a valuable and colorful addition to any fine mineral collection, as a distinct example of bicolor tourmaline crystal from a famous locality.
Presenting this well-balanced specimen featuring nice multi-colored elbaite var. Tourmaline crystals standing tall on well crystallized double-terminated smokey quartz with silvery-white muscovite. The primary large tourmaline crystal exhibits excellent quality multi-faced terminations with well-formed side crystal shooting out of the matrix.
Tourmaline has a vibrant pink top with a green body creating an awesome contrast of different colors, adopting an interesting V-shape in such perfection and very good transparency & aesthetics.