Paraiba Tourmaline a Rare & Expensive Gemstone
Paraiba Tourmaline gemstone is one of the rarest and most expensive gemstones in the world. Although not listed in the top ten most expensive gemstones category, it is trading between US$6,000 per Carat to US$15,000 per Carat depending on the size and quality of the gemstone. The most expensive gemstone is Jadeite, which is over US$3m per carat.
Paraiba stones usually come in sizes less than one Carat and it is rare to find it in sizes of more than one Carat.
It is a relatively new gemstone and discovered only in the late '80s by Heitor Dimas Barbosa in Paraiba, Brazil. That is how it got its name. Besides Brazil, this gemstone was mined in Nigeria and Mozambique in Africa.
It makes its debut at the annual Tucson, Arizona gem show in the early '90s and became an immediate hit. It is rare for such new gem variety to cause so much excitement in the gemstone world, and so quickly.
Paraiba in Brazil
Why the Excitement
The excitement is probably due to its color. It has a unique neon blue glow that people described it as 'neon' or 'electric' which is a cross between green, blue and turquoise.
Paraiba also has an intense shine and glow, with an intensity that is not commonly found in other gemstones.
How it Got its Color
This striking green and turquoise hue is due to the high proportions of copper. It is also responsible for the deep glow.
In order to remove other minerals such as manganese that are present in the stone, a 'burning' under high heat technique is used. This is part of the gemstone's cutting process. This leaves only copper in a concentrated form to produce a gemstone that has pure vivid color.
Hence, if you buy a Paraiba gemstone and that has not gone through the 'burning' process, then it is not a Parabai tourmaline.
This vivid color is only seen in cut and faceted Paraiba stone and it is not present in the uncut stone. This unusual glow, which is sometime described as 'fire' make Paraiba a highly collectible gemstone. The most prized and expensive are those with the intense 'neon blue' color.
Why is it Expensive?
The relatively high price for Paraiba gemstone, in the jewelry making business, is due to several reasons:
- The attractive color of Paraiba has increased the popularity and demand worldwide
- It is a rare gemstone
- Can only be found in Brazil, Nigeria and Mozambique in areas that are rich in copper
A Carat is roughly a fifth of a gram
- It is manually mined with wedges and sledgehammer, and the mining conditions are tough. The rough Paraiba gemstone can only be found in small veins within the stone
Paraiba Tourmalines are priced and evaluated in similar manner as diamonds. It uses the four C’s of cut, color, carat and clarity.
Why is Paraiba Gemstone Rare
Within a short period after Paraiba tourmaline was discovered in Brazil in 1987, the mine was completely mined and fully depleted of this gemstone. Then, about a decade later, similar gemstones were discovered in Nigeria in 2001 and Mozambique in 2004. Within a short span, these were also completely mined.
This is mainly due to the small amount of tourmalines in the stone veins.
With no more mines and other known sources, the Paraiba tourmaline gemstone remains a rare and priceless gemstone.
Where Can You Buy Parabai Gemstones
Just like most expensive gemstones and jewelry, Paraiba tourmalines are sold mainly in most upscale and upmarket jewelry stores.
However, you can also buy them online from reputable designers and stores and even on eBay. Be extra careful and do your research when you buy these gemstones online and buy only from reputable sellers.
Lawsuit on the use of Paraiba name
Stones mined from Nigeria and Mozambique do not have the same brilliance and vivid color as those mined in Brazil. However, they were still called Paraiba gemstone.
In the original lawsuit, Paraiba.com claimed that the name Paraíba was wrongly used and hijacked by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and others to describe similar gemstone mined from other countries. They claimed that these stones are of inferior quality and hence, should not use the term, Paraiba. It should only be used to describe gemstones mined only in Paraiba, Brazil.
Unfortunately, Paraibai.com lost, and this lawsuit dismissed. The name ‘Paraíba’ can now be used to describe gemstone of such composition and characteristic that is not only mined in Paraiba, Brazil, but also in Nigeria and Mozambique.
Paraiba Gemstone - a Real Traesure
Paraiba Gemstone Continues to be Favorites with Buyers
The AGTA or American Gem Trade Association's Gem Fair show is always considered and judged as a reliable source of the hottest and latest gemstone trend.
Based on the 2012 show, gemstones that were in buyer's favorite list includes the Parabai Tourmaline.
This is not a surprised as Paraiba's color, luminosity and its rarity have achieved great popularity not just with buyers, but also with jewelry designers.