Tourmaline is a popular semi-precious gem that comes in a wide variety of colors. The largest tourmaline, 191.87 carats, was mined in Brazil, where there is an abundance of the stone. Afghanistan and several African countries also produce a large supply of the tourmaline that is on the market today. While these countries may be some of the most popular mining sites for tourmaline, the United States also has a rich history of tourmaline production.
The first discoveries of tourmaline in the United States occurred in Maine in 1822 at a mine known as Mount Mica. In fact, tourmaline is the first gemstone that was mined in the U.S. by miners, though Native Americans had been mining gemstones long before that. Typically, the mines in Maine produce reddish pink and light green tourmalines; however, a 256-carat blue tourmaline is the biggest recorded stone cut from this state.
California also has a deep history of tourmaline mining. Since the 1870’s or 1880’s, tourmaline has been mined semi-regularly in San Diego and Riverside Counties in California. In fact, because of the longevity of operation of some of these mines and the amount of tourmaline produced, California is the largest supplier of tourmaline in the Northern Hemisphere. California tourmalines come in most colors, and the largest mined was a 400-carat pink-red stone.
At Mosteller American Gemstones, we get all of our gemstones, including tourmaline, from the United States. Because of its abundance and variety of colors, tourmaline is quite popular and relatively affordable. Consider Mosteller American Gemstones if you are in the market for a fine piece of jewelry, and consider tourmaline if you would like an affordable semi-precious stone with a rich United States history.