Tourmaline is the alternate Birthstone for October, along with the Opal. The stone was first discovered by Dutch traders off the West Coast of Italy, in the late 1600's or early 1700s. The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese term “turmali,” which was the name given to all colored crystals on the island of Sri Lanka at that time.Tourmaline is the most colorful of all gemstones. It occurs in all colors, but pink, red, green, blue and multicolored are its most well-known
gem colors. Scientifically, tourmaline is not a single mineral, but a group of minerals related in their physical and chemical properties. The mineral Elbaite is the member of the Tourmaline group that is responsible for almost all the gem varieties. Three other members of the group - Schorl, Dravite and Liddicoatite, are seldom used as gemstonesThough Elbaite occurs in all color forms, the term Elbaite in the gemstone trade is sometimes used to describe the green form of Tourmaline.
The other color forms of Elbaite have their own variety names on the gem market. Traditional Tourmaline gemstone variety names include Rubellite, the red or pink variety, Indicolite, the blue variety, and Watermelon Tourmaline, a multicolored Tourmaline of green and red. More recently coined Tourmaline variety names include Chrome Tourmaline and Paraiba Tourmaline. A recent trend in the gem market is to prefix Tourmaline gemstones by the color designation as opposed to variety name, such that "Rubellite" is now more often called "Red Tourmaline".