Color: Tourmalines come in a huge variety of colors, including blue, green, red, pink, orange, and yellow. Some tourmaline gemstones are even multi-colored, like the “watermelon” tourmalines, which are cut to show off different shades of green and reddish pink within one stone!
Our Sources: Did you know Maine is an excellent source for tourmalines of nearly every color? We love sourcing Maine tourmalines from our friends at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum. We also source Fair Trade tourmalines from California and Nigeria through Columbia Gem House.
Ethical sourcing is a challenging, nuanced endeavor and we strive to be completely transparent about our decisions. It is important to know not only where your materials were mined, but also when to understand whether or not your purchase is funding a group or government that does not align with your values. Afghanistan is another place with a rich supply of beautiful tourmalines. Columbia Gem House offers Afghan tourmalines that were mined and removed from the country prior to the U.S. War in Afghanistan. These stones were all cut in CGH’s own cutting facility, which adheres to their Fair Trade Principles. While we do not source newly-mined gemstones from Afghanistan, we have used tourmalines from this older supply. Learn more about the complexities of responsible sourcing in Afghanistan in Christina T. Miller’s Living Room Session with Zulaikha Aziz.
More on Tourmalines:
Tourmalines are rated 7-7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making them durable enough for your everyday jewelry. We recommend cleaning your tourmaline jewelry with mild soap and a soft brush; avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaner, as these could damage your gemstone.
Tourmalines are one of October’s birthstones and are also associated with the eighth anniversary. Because of their complex molecular structure, tourmalines have unusual electrical properties. When heated or compressed, they gain a polarized electrical charge making them magnetic. Different colors of tourmaline are believed to have various metaphysical properties, which include healing, reducing anxiety, promoting empathy and wisdom, increasing confidence, and protecting the wearer from harm.
Our Commitment to Ethical Sourcing:
W.R. Metalarts strives to know the full story of the materials we use in our jewelry. We are committed to supporting artisanal miners and mining communities, promoting healthy and safe working conditions, and avoiding environmentally destructive practices. We are dedicated to deepening our understanding and working to address the historical and ongoing harm of the jewelry industry to indigenous communities and communities of color all around the world. We do not claim to have all of the answers; we are constantly evaluating our practices as we gain a more nuanced understanding of our complex industry. Transparency is critical so that you, our clients and collaborators, can trust that we’ve done all we can to create the most beautiful jewelry - not just the end result, but beautiful at every step of the journey.
The way that we back up these values is to do our homework, putting our suppliers through rigorous vetting processes. We don’t take our vendors at face value when they say a stone is “conflict-free” or “sustainable;” we push them to give us the whole story about the journey of a stone and if they are not able to back up their claims of “ethics'' with sources or credentials, we won’t work with them. We source directly from local cutters and miners, when possible, which is one way to ensure ethical, responsible, and sustainable business practices. It takes time and diligence to find suppliers that we trust, but once we find them, we forge incredible relationships built on our shared values of transparency, accountability, and doing good.