Brazilian Indicolite are very rare, uniquely beautiful, indigo blue gemstones from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (English: General Mines). Wonderfully wearable, our Brazilian Indicolite features the quality hallmarks this historic pedigree implies, even holding its blue when exposed to incandescent light. Displaying a fine brilliance, Brazilian Indicolite is one of the rarest and most valuable Tourmalines.
Visually distinct from Paraíba Tourmaline, Indicolite (also spelled Indigolite or indigolith) is derived from the Latin ‘indicum’ (a blue dye obtained from various plants) and from the Greek ‘lithos’ (stone) for its indigo hues. Note blue characterizes this variety and specimens with visible greens should not be called Indicolite.
The propensity of pleochroism (dichroism) to darken it can make Indicolite lose its transparency, brilliance and beauty, sometimes making it a difficult gemstone for lapidaries. All Tourmaline can be challenging to cut, but in Indicolite, the table of the gem must be orientated to not only achieve the best possible weight and clarity, but also to minimize the impact of its darker color. Similar to Green Tourmaline, Indicolite is usually eye-clean. Brazil is not only home to much of the world’s Tourmaline, but also to some of the world’s best Tourmaline lapidaries. Good cutting accentuates the innate beauty of Indicolite and every gem is finished eye-clean, the highest quality clarity grade for colored gemstones, with an attractive shape and overall appearance.
Tourmaline frequently garners the nickname, ‘the chameleon gem’, not only because of its multitude of colors, but also because of its historic propensity to be confused with other gemstones. Tourmaline is derived from the Sinhalese ‘turmali’, which means ‘mixed parcel’ or ‘stone with mixed colors’ and are a group of related minerals whose differences in composition result in a huge variety of hues. While there are 13 mineralogical varieties of Tourmaline, Elbaite is the mainstay of Tourmaline gemstones. Elbaite is named after the island of its discovery (Elba) in Tuscany, Italy; Elba is best known as the island of Napoleon’s exile in 1814. Tourmaline’s different colors are either identified by a color prefix, such as blue-green, green and pink, or a variety name or prefix. These include Bicolor Tourmaline (two or more colors), Canary Tourmaline (intense yellow from the African nations of Malawi and Zambia), Cat’s Eye Tourmaline (chatoyant Tourmaline), Color Change Tourmaline (green to red), Cuprian Tourmaline (non-Paraíba hues including purples, but still colored by copper and manganese), Indicolite (blue), Paraíba Tourmaline (blue to green, colored by copper and manganese), Rubellite (red), and Watermelon Tourmaline (pink interior, green exterior, just like the fruit). Another prized, but exceedingly rare variety is Chrome Tourmaline, a vivid pure green East African Dravite colored by chromium and vanadium, the same elements that color Emerald and Tsavorite. Last is Black Tourmaline (Schorl), a variety once popular in mourning jewelry that is enjoying a revival due to the popularity of Black Diamonds.
While Brazil is the historic source, Indicolite of this quality is now rarely extracted from this country, with other origins including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Nigeria. Our Brazilian Indicolite is old mine production from 12 years ago. The raw crystals were obtained from a private collection in Belo Horizonte in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
Due to its geological rarity, after Paraíba Tourmaline and Chrome Tourmaline, fine pure blue Indicolite is more valuable than Rubellite, Bicolor Tourmaline, Pink Tourmaline and Green Tourmaline. Entirely natural, Brazilian Indicolite is also one of the few gemstones that are not enhanced.
Durability & Care
Brazilian Indicolite is a durable gemstone (Mohs’ Hardness: 7 – 7.5) well-suited to everyday wear. Always store Brazilian Indicolite carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.