The Paraiba Tourmaline : An Obsession

Whether if it’s the mint green or electric blue variety, the Paraiba tourmaline has remained intensely sought after in the coloured gemstone arena, irrespective of the market situation.

Any idea about the story ?


Heitor Dimas Barbosa was more than just someone looking for gemstones: and apart from that he wasn’t even looking for anything the existence of which had already been proved. The man was absolutely convinced that somewhere beneath the ‘Paraiba hill’ – famous today – he was going to find something ‘completely different’. And right he was. In 1981 he began with the first preparations for excavations at an old, dilapidated opencast mine.


Solid demand ?

According to Farhat Amin of Thai gem dealer Azizi Enterprises Co Ltd, Paraiba tourmalines managed to buck the trend and continued to move fast despite uncertainties in the coloured gemstone business.

The Paraiba tourmaline has taken the jewellery world by storm. Designers love it; the trade is enamoured by it. It’s always been an attractive stone,” noted Amin. “Right now, Paraiba tourmaline sales comprise 80 percent of our business.”

Azizi’s strongest markets are Japan, followed by the US and Europe.

Gem-quality bright blue to green Paraiba tourmaline is currently mined in various sites in Africa and Brazil, with Brazil producing the more vivid, neon bluish-green variant.

Gems from Mozambique with good quality and colour command a per carat price of US$10,000. Per carat prices of Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines of 1 carat to 1.5 carats meanwhile range from US$15,000 to US$20,000, depending on clarity and colour.

Brazilian stones in bigger sizes are currently difficult to source, revealed Amin.