Where is Raw Tourmaline Found?

Tourmaline can be found around the world, certain regions are particularly rich sources of raw, uncut tourmaline crystals and matrix specimens still attached to the host rock. Understanding where tourmaline deposits occur helps explain why this gem comes in such a rainbow of hues.

Brazil

Brazil produces more tourmaline than any other country, supplying about 80% of the world’s tourmaline. The gem-rich state of Minas Gerais contains several important tourmaline mining areas, notably the São José da Safira and Araçuaí regions. Brazilian tourmaline comes in every color, though pink, red, and copper-bearing tourmaline are especially prized. The vibrant imperial topaz hue of Brazilian paraíba tourmaline is also highly sought after.

United States

California and Maine are the two major tourmaline producers in the U.S. California’s tourmaline localities include the Himalaya Mine in San Diego County and deposits in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Pala. California tourmaline occurs in pegmatites and is mined for its pink, blue, and multicolored watermelon tourmaline. Maine is known for producing green and pink tourmaline as well as the extremely rare blue cap tourmaline. Important Maine mines include the Dunton Mine and Mount Mica.

Afghanistan

For centuries, Afghanistan was a source of fine red rubellite tourmaline. The rugged Hindu Kush mountains contain rich lodes of red and pink tourmaline. Political instability has hampered mining in recent decades, but Afghanistan still produces some of the world’s best red tourmaline. The crystals have intense saturation and remarkable clarity.

Africa

Several African nations produce tourmaline, notably Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, and Namibia. Most African tourmaline mining is small-scale and artisanal. Mozambique is especially noted for yielding pink tourmaline, while Nigeria produces unique dichroic tourmaline with dual-colored green and blue zones. Intense yellow tourmaline has come from Tanzania.

Pakistan

Northern Pakistan’s mountainous Gilgit-Baltistan region serves as another source of gemmy pink rubellite tourmaline. The Neelum Valley of Azad Kashmir also produces tourmaline crystals at altitudes up to 4500 meters. Large Pakistani tourmaline crystals exceeding 100 carats have been found.

While tourmaline can be found worldwide, these regions exemplify prime sources of highly valued raw, uncut tourmaline with top color and clarity. When you appreciate the beauty of faceted tourmaline gems, you can understand the journey that exceptional rough takes from mine to gem cutter.