Tourmaline belongs to a huge family of crystal boron sillicate minerals. The name comes from the Sinhalese word "Thuramali" (තුරමලි) or "Thoramalli" (තෝරමල්ලි), which applied to different gemstones found in Sri Lanka. It is available in virtually any colour you can think of as its structure can incorporate different chemical elements that change its hue. While most of its varieties are relatively cheap, there are some that are among rarest and most sought after gemstones on this planet. Tourmaline belongs to the trigonal crystal system and grows in elongated prismatic three sided crystals with slightly rounded walls. Hardness of Tourmaline usually falls between 7-7.5 on the Moh's scale that makes it suitable for everyday use if small amount of care is applied. So long as you don't perform any phisical activity that could result in abrasion or hard knocks to your gem, it should be just fine. Generally safe for ultrasonic cleaners unless liquid inclusions present it is not recommended for steam cleaners. The best practice for gem cleaning is as usual, warm soapy water and soft brush is necessary. Most of Tourmalines are not treated but some may be heated or irradiated. There's however no way of identifying those treatments in Tourmaline and as they are both safe and permanent the value is not affected. There are no synthetic Tourmalines on the market as of this day, probably due to the complicated chemistry of this gem. Main sources of this gem today include- Brasil, Sri Lanka, USA, Afghanistan, Eastern Africa and Burma.
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