Paraíba Tourmaline: Prices, Properties, Meaning & Benefits

paraiba tourmaline gemstoneParaiba tourmaline is a blue to green gemstone adored for its vibrant coloring and exclusivity. Only discovered in the past few decades, this stunning tourmaline variety has since gained international acclaim and a top spot among gemstones.

Is paraiba tourmaline rare? Absolutely. Not only is blue the rarest tourmaline color, but Paraiba tourmaline is also among the rarest gems, with steep prices to match. 

What makes paraiba tourmaline so unique, and how much is it actually worth? We’ll answer those questions and more as we dive into paraiba tourmaline gemstone value, meanings, benefits, and history!

paraiba tourmaline gemstone

About Paraíba Tourmaline

Paraiba tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone, though its rarity exceeds that of the precious gemstone diamond. Specifically, it’s estimated that one paraiba tourmaline is mined per 10,000 diamonds mined. 

Is paraiba tourmaline more expensive than diamond? Sometimes, but it depends on the diamond. High-quality white diamonds weighing 5 or more carats can reach $68,000 per carat, while high-quality paraiba tourmalines in the same weight category can reach $87,000 per carat. 

As a tourmaline, this jewel is an October birthstone, Libra zodiac stone, and 8th wedding anniversary gem. Though more expensive in general, paraiba tourmaline can also substitute for aquamarine as a March birthstone

Paraíba Tourmaline Specifications & Characteristics

The tourmaline gemstone family is complex, with multiple groupings and varieties. Most gemologists agree that Paraiba tourmaline is under the elbaite species, joining indicolite, rubellite, and watermelon tourmaline to name a few. 

Elbaite tourmaline varieties are sodium, lithium, and aluminum borosilicates. Paraiba tourmaline is distinguished by its copper content, leading to the moniker “cuprian elbaite.” 

A few Paraiba tourmalines are technically in the liddicoatite tourmaline series, not elbaite, though these are rare. Liddicoatite is a rare tourmaline series almost identical to elbaite, but with calcium in the place of sodium. 

neon paraiba tourmaline gemstone faceted

How to Identify Paraiba Tourmaline

The best way to identify Paraiba tourmalines vs. other tourmalines is by looking at its absorption spectrum with a spectroscope

While most tourmalines don’t have diagnostic absorption spectra, you’ll see general absorption in a broad area beginning at 600 nm in high-copper Paraiba tourmalines. 

Using a loupe, you can also check for facet doubling, which is indicative of Paraiba tourmaline’s high birefringence

For paraiba tourmaline vs other gems like topaz or beryl, you can look at hardness. Paraiba tourmaline is 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale, while topaz and beryl are at 8.

Listed below are Paraiba tourmaline’s mineral properties: 

  • Mohs hardness: 7-7.5

  • Color: Shades of blue, green, and blue-green; Rarely violet, purple, or pink

  • Crystal structure: Hexagonal (trigonal)

  • Luster: Vitreous (glassy) to resinous

  • Transparency: Translucent to transparent

  • Refractive index: 1.603-1.655

  • Density: 2.84-3.10

  • Cleavage: None

  • Fracture: Conchoidal or uneven

  • Streak: White

  • Luminescence: Fluorescence sometimes present but weak

  • Pleochroism: Often present in blue-green/blue & light green to pink to purple/colorless

  • Birefringence: 0.013-0.024

  • Dispersion: 0.017

  • Optical effects: Rarely chatoyancy, asterism, color-change

With mineralogy covered, it’s time to shift into the stone’s metaphysical side. 

paraiba tourmaline gemstone earrings with diamonds and sapphires

Paraíba Tourmaline Meaning & History

Paraiba tourmaline’s color evokes the calming blues and greens of the sea, particularly the Caribbean Sea near Brazil. Metaphysically, the crystal symbolizes intuition, creativity, and intellect. 


Dubbed the “Father of the Paraiba Tourmaline,” Brazilian miner Heitor Dimas Barbosa first discovered the stone in Paraiba in 1989 after years of mining pegmatites. Another discovery in Rio Grande Do Norte, Brazil, occurred shortly after. 

Once researchers found the stones had unique copper content, popularity took off. 

In 2000, copper-bearing tourmalines were discovered in Nigeria. African gemstone supplier Moussa Konate subsequently discovered more African Paraibas from a parcel of Mozambique tourmalines around 2001. 

So, what makes a tourmaline a Paraiba? Though the name derives from the original locale of the gem’s discovery, the true answer remains a topic of some debate among gemologists.

Some gemologists solely refer to Brazilian material as Paraiba, labeling African specimens as “Paraiba-like” or “cuprian.” However, reports from reputable gemstone labs define Paraiba stones by their copper content instead of source. 

The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) confirmed “Paraiba” as an official trade name in 1999 before the African discoveries. 

After the discoveries, the International Gemstone Industry Laboratory Conference decided “Paraiba tourmaline” applied to all the stones regardless of source in 2006. The International Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC) confirmed the decision soon after.

paraiba tourmaline healing stone

Paraíba Tourmaline Healing Properties

Paraiba tourmalines make effective healing stones. Green Paraiba tourmaline, like other green gemstones, brings hope, joy, and luck. Blue specimens join other blue gemstones in offering increased mental clarity and serenity. 

Additionally, Paraiba tourmalines are great throat chakra stones, allowing you to understand and express your truth. 

Physical Healing

Purported Paraiba tourmaline benefits include helping treat:

  • Arthritis

  • Hay fever

  • Thyroid issues

  • Eye problems

  • Sore throat

Emotional Healing

Emotionally, Paraiba tourmaline is said to improve intellect and intuition. It’s believed to dispel self-doubt and negativity, along with facilitating healing after breakups. 

paraiba tourmaline gemstone faceted

Paraíba Tourmaline Gemstone Properties

How much a Paraiba tourmaline is worth depends on its color, clarity, cut, carat weight, source, and treatments. Color, sparkle, and cut are most important. 


Unlike the iron behind the blue to blue-green hues in indicolite, copper is behind Paraiba tourmaline’s neon blues and greens, leading to more saturated colors. Iron or manganese leads to green undertones. Manganese joins copper to create rare violet, purple, or pink hues. 

Neon blue Paraiba tourmaline is the most valuable color, while predominantly green stones are less valuable. Paraibas typically have medium tone and high saturation. 

Though pink and purple Paraibas are rare, they’re not as valuable as green or blue ones.

Some rare and valuable Paraiba tourmalines are color-changing, shifting from purple in fluorescent light to bluish-green or gray in incandescent light. 


Paraiba tourmaline has a Type III colored gemstone clarity grade, so it usually has visible inclusions. While inclusions won’t significantly lower the value, Paraibas without inclusions are rare and top-value. 

One possible inclusion is copper, which can create sparkles throughout the gem and highlight the interior. 

Rarely, Paraibas may have hollow tubes creating 4-rayed “stars” of light (an optical effect called asterism) on the stone’s surface. More often, these inclusions lead to specimens having a single reflected line of light (a.k.a. chatoyancy or the “cat’s eye” effect). 


Since material is scarce and tourmalines aren’t too difficult to cut, almost all Paraiba tourmalines are faceted with custom shapes, often oval-based. Cuts that enhance the stone’s sparkle and color best are most valuable. 

Lower-value cuts are asymmetrical and not proportional, often leading to windowing and lack of sparkle. Rare specimens with chatoyancy or asterism must be cut as cabochons to properly display the effect. Too many inclusions can also result in a Paraiba tourmaline cabochon over faceted gem.

Carat Weight & Size

Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines are usually 1-2 carats or smaller. African Paraiba gems can reach 20 carats. 

Paraiba tourmaline price-per-carat typically changes at one, two, three, ten, and twenty carats, depending on the source.


Where a Paraiba tourmaline comes from can impact its quality and price. Brazilian specimens are usually the priciest, typically having great color but low clarity and small sizes. 

Mozambique has larger Paraiba tourmalines with similarly great color and better clarity. Nigerian specimens are typically less saturated and more affordable. 

Overall, it’s incredibly difficult to distinguish if a Paraiba tourmaline came from one source vs. another — it requires professional chemical analysis. 

Treatments & Simulants

Some Paraiba tourmalines undergo heat and/or irradiation to alter their color. Heat will either lighten too-dark colors or make purple colors blue. 

Occasionally, laser drilling or fracture filling is done to improve clarity. These treatments can lower value. 

Simulants are more common than synthetic Paraiba tourmaline. Common simulants are other tourmalines, glass, cubic zirconia, apatite, and synthetic beryl.

paraiba tourmaline gemstone rough crystal specimens

Paraíba Tourmaline Formation & Sources

Most raw Paraiba tourmalines form in pegmatite rocks, though some show up in alluvial deposits resulting from the rocks weathering. 

The stone’s formation is unique because it forms with substantial amounts of copper and/or manganese nearby. Copper isn’t present in any other tourmaline. 

Mining Locations

Currently, Paraiba tourmalines only come from Brazil, Mozambique, and Nigeria. The demand for paraiba tourmaline from Brazil has led to their near depletion in the area.

What prices should you expect?

paraiba tourmaline gemstone ring

Paraíba Tourmaline Price & Value

Paraiba tourmalines are pricey stones, though cabochons and less popular colors may be more affordable. Why is Paraiba tourmaline so expensive? It comes down to rarity and high demand. 

First, Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines prices:

  • 0.20-0.99 carat: $150 to $15,500 per carat

  • 1.00-1.99 carats: $550 to $30,000 per carat

  • 2.00-2.99 carats: $950 to $40,000 per carat

  • 3.00-4.99 carats: $1,100 to $55,000 per carat

  • 5+ carats: $3,000 to $55,000 per carat

Next, Nigerian and Mozambique Paraiba tourmaline price-per-carat ranges:

  • 0.20-2.99 carats: $70 to $5,500 per carat

  • 3.00-4.99 carats: $70 to $14,000 per carat

  • 5.00-9.99 carats: $70 to $16,000 per carat

  • 10+ carats: $700 to $20,000 per carat

Last, we’ll go over proper gemstone care

Paraíba Tourmaline Care and Maintenance

Tourmalines are extremely durable and great for everyday wear. You may want protective settings for a Paraiba tourmaline ring. 

Clean the stone with a soft toothbrush dipped in a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Don’t clean with mechanical cleaners (e.g. ultrasonic or steam) because these can make liquid inclusions expand and cause breakage. 

paraiba tourmaline gemstone ring heart shape

Shine Like the Sea with Paraiba Tourmaline!

Before Paraiba tourmalines came along, tourmalines were regarded as simply simulants for “better” gems. This variety has allowed tourmalines to gain some well-deserved recognition for their gorgeous spectrum of colors and benefits.

In fact, many consider Paraiba tourmalines as top gemstones for collectors, along with the “big three” gems (ruby, sapphire, and emerald.) 

Whether you display the gem in a collection, sport it as your birthstone, or just rock some dazzling Paraiba tourmaline earrings to turn heads, this gem will certainly bring some sparkle into your life. 

Buy Paraiba tourmaline gemstones today!

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