It is an incredibly rare blue variety of Tourmaline.
The Tourmaline family of gemstones is renowned for its diversity of colour. However, unlike the convention of naming gems such as Zircon and Topaz, where the different colours simply prefix the gem type (i.e Blue Zircon and Green Topaz), most colours of Tourmaline are identified by non-colour associated names. Rubellite is the red variety of Tourmaline; Achroite colourless; Paraiba neon blue to green; and Indicolite being the incredibly rare colour of Blue Tourmaline.
Indicolite’s name originates from the Latin word for a blue coloured plant known as the “Indicum”. Although the gem is normally translucent to opaque, transparent pieces can occasionally be found; their rarity and popularity with gem collectors and connoisseurs means that they can often demand some of the highest prices of all gemstones.
Crystal Healers believe that Indicolite is useful for creating an air of openness and tolerance. In days gone by, the rich would wear Indicolite (although it was not known as this at the time) to dispel curses and to protect the wearer from danger.
This incredibly rare gemstone forms part of the group of Tourmalines known as Elbaite. It is similar in colour to that of London Blue Topaz: Indicolite’s colour, however, is created purely by Mother Nature.
The gem is beautifully pleochroic (different colours are seen from different angles).
What earns an Indicolite Tourmaline its name, rather than simply being called “Blue Tourmaline”, is the tone and saturation of the colour. For me, true Indicolite must have a tone that is greater than 80% and at the same time possess a medium or stronger saturation. This of course is a chicken and egg scenario, in that the darker the tone, the more difficult it is to witness vivid saturation.
Transparent pieces over one carat in size are incredibly rare and normally step cut to maximise the colour of the gem. Larger pieces are often opaque and normally cabochon cut, sometimes revealing chatoyancy (a cat’s eye effect).
Some of the finest Indicolite in the world is found in Minas Gerais, Brazil; in particular at the Pederneira and Cruzeiro mines near the village of Sâo José Da Safira.
In addition to Brazil, Indicolite has also been found in Russia, Mexico and Pakistan.