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Are all copper bearing tourmalines considered Paraiba-type?

I was researching on the web and found as I often do conflicting opinions on whether or not all tourmalines that contain copper can be classified as a Paraiba type or just cuprian tourmaline.
So I was hoping someone might be able to clarify
Does it have to have Manganese as well to be Paraiba?
Any advice is appreciated


Tourmaline is a “garbage pail” of elements… so it is difficult to classify only on the basis of chemical composition. It is the “color” that is important in Paraiba as well as it composition… but paraiba is likely an idiochromatic mineral … such that it is the copper in the tourmaline that is the major coloring agent is in high enough concentrations that Cu should be part of its formula. If Mn is present it would be considered “allochemical” as in more of trace element coloration. The reports I have read seem to indicate that Mn may or may not be present… Thus, I would guess that it is not essential to causing the color that sets paraiba apart from the other tourmalines

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The color of Paraiba tourmaline is unmistakable. Paraiba tourmaline came first from the region of the same name in Brazil. When similar colored tourmaline was discovered in Africa it was first called Paraiba, but some folks called foul, since it wasn’t from Paraiba. AFAIK, it is now considered correct to call Paraiba type colored tourmaline from other places copper bearing tourmaline, since that is what creates the color. Only tourmaline from Paraiba can properly bear that name. This gives a price premium to tourmaline that is actually from Paraiba in Brazil. Copper bearing tourmaline with a Paraiba type color is called copper bearing tourmaline. While it is still sold at a premium over other tourmaline, tourmaline with a documented Paraiba provenance commands the highest price. I myself am a little edgy about a price based solely on provenance, but that is how it is with Paraiba, with Kashmir sapphire and some other stones.

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Very interesting. I know of no secure, reliable way to determine provenance when the color is correct and it is being sold as Paraiba tourmaline. There is way too much dishonesty in the gem world for Provenance to be the deciding factor in the name of a gem… so if the color of your tourmaline is the “unmistakable” color mentioned by royjohn, then you should be able to call it “Paraiba”. The beauty of a gem is in its “look” and not based upon its locality of origin.

When Nigeria and Mozambique copper bearing tourmalines came on the market, laboratories had to make certain compromises based on pressure from the industry. Thus many years back in deliberations, the LMHC (laboratory manual harmonization codes) group of labs (GIA, SSEF, Gubelin, ICA, and others) decided it was okay to put “Paraiba” on their reports to include all these other country sources. So you can only imagine that in the general market it is a free for all.

Some labs like AGL or SGL will not directly state Paraiba as the variety (unless it is from Brazil), and will only mention in their lab comments section regarding the other sources that, “these copper bearing tourmalines may be referred to as paraiba-type in the trade”. Note the lower case and hyphen “paraiba-type”.

It is easy enough for an experienced, advanced laboratory to determine the country of origin separating the three different sources. This is based on chemical ratios. However, it does take sophisticated equipment and background knowledge.

D.L., your question about the manganese is good. Yes, all the paraiba type tourmalines need to have manganese in order for the copper to activate those neon colors. This typically happens in the heating process.

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Thank you for all the advice, it is very helpful