Ouro Fino Rubellite are rare purplish-red gemstones from the famous Ouro Fino Mine in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Ouro Fino Rubellite, along with Rubellite from Brazil’s historic Cruzeiro mine (an important source in the late 70s and early 80s), is considered by many to be among some of the finest Rubellite ever produced.
Hardness 7 – 7.5
Refractive Index 1.624 – 1.644
Relative Density 2.82 – 3.32
Named for its mine, Ouro Fino Rubellite comes in beautiful purplish-reds with desirable medium tones that are not too dark or too light. Ouro Fino Rubellite was one of the first high-end Rubellites in the world and is known for its distinct reddish hue. A variety of Tourmaline, Rubellite is derived from the Latin ‘rubellus’ (reddish) and the Greek ‘lithos’ (stone). While red and pink are technically the same color, Rubellite is distinguished from Pink Tourmaline by its deeper tone (lightness or darkness of a color) and greater saturation (strength of a color).
While Rubellite from the Ouro Fino mine is noted for its Emerald-like ‘jardin’ (French for ‘garden’) inclusions, a characteristic trait that is totally acceptable, our Ouro Fino Rubellite displays exceptional clarity for this deposit.
Dependent on expert cutting, Ouro Fino Rubellite is always challenging for the lapidary due to areas of internal tension inside Rubellite crystals and its inherent pleochroism (colors and their intensity change when viewed from different angles). Ouro Fino Rubellite has been faceted by experienced lapidaries who carefully orientate each crystal to maximize the gem’s colorful brilliance.
While there are 13 mineralogical varieties of Tourmaline, the main variety is Elbaite. Named after the island of its discovery (Elba) in Tuscany, Italy, Elbaite is the backbone of Tourmaline gemstones. A source of minerals during antiquity, Elba is best known as the island of Napoleon’s exile in 1814. Name a color and in all likelihood you’ll find it in Tourmaline. Even pure ‘amethyst’ purples have appeared since the discovery of the Mozambique Paraíba deposit in the Mavuco area. 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 Bi Color 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, but still colored by copper and manganese), Indicolite (blue), Paraíba Tourmaline (blue to green, colored by copper and manganese), Rubellite (purplish-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 make Emerald and Tsavorite. Last is Schorl (Black Tourmaline), a variety that is naturally abundant and once popular in mourning jewelry, yet now commercially scarce because it is rarely faceted. Nevertheless, interest in both Black Tourmaline and Black Spinel has increased due to the popularity of Black Diamonds.
While some gemstones look better in natural daylight and others in artificial (incandescent) light, a gemstone’s colors should ideally remain beautiful in any light source. Despite this, all Tourmalines are ‘day gems’, meaning they typically look their very best in natural light.
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 colors.
Similar to Garnet, Tourmaline is a group of related minerals whose differences in composition result in a plethora of colors. Tourmaline was discovered in Brazil by the Portuguese in the 16th century at the gem fields of Minas Gerais (‘general mines’ in Portuguese). Today, other major sources for Rubellite include Madagascar, Mozambique and Nigeria.
First unearthed in 1981, Ouro Fino Rubellite is from the Ouro Fino mine near Araçuaí, a municipality (município) located in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in the Jequitinhonha valley. An area rich in gemstones, including Andalusite and Tourmalines, Ouro Fino is no longer mined. Testament to the expertise of our gem hunters, we are very lucky to secure one of the most exclusive Rubellites in the world from a retired Brazilian trader who still has limited collections of historic gems that are no longer readily available.
Enjoying intense competition amongst international buyers, Rubellite from any locale have significantly increased in price and decreased in availability. Rubellite, along with Chrome Tourmaline, Indicolite, and Paraíba Tourmaline, are the rarest and most valuable Tourmaline varieties.
Durability & Care
Ouro Fino Rubellite is a durable gemstone (Mohs’ Hardness: 7 – 7.5) well-suited to everyday wear. Always store Ouro Fino Rubellite 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.