Red Tourmaline (with gem quality pieces being referred to as Rubellite) is a beryllium aluminum silicate mineral that crystallizes in the form of masses, as well as vertical hexagonal pillars. Most specimens are found formed in a Quartz matrix or grown on top of one. The majority of pieces on the market come from localities spread across Brazil, especially the state of Minas Gerais. Superior quality Rubellite has also come out of Africa, as well as the legendary tourmaline mines in Maine and Southern California (United States).
One huge problem we’ve seen working within the mineral community is the amount of fake and heat treated varieties on the market. It’s very common to see Red Tourmaline that has been altered at your local gem shows or from your favorite online crystal shops. This is due in part to the rarity of the stone, as well as the cost of acquiring it. Two major indications to help you identify authentic Rubellite are its size and color. Naturally, Red Tourmaline forms in very small pieces, with most specimens usually smaller than 2 inches. It’s categorized as a “fine mineral” and is usually placed in a small shadow box or display case.
When it comes to the color of Rubellite, it may get a bit more tricky in authenticating. Fake dealers have become extremely talented in their craft of how to best take a low quality tourmaline and alter its appearance for good. The first thing you want to do is take a very close look at the red color and examine it for any imperfections. The red color is caused by natural radiation within the Earth, as well as an alteration in its chemical makeup. Lithium and Manganese slowly develop within the tourmaline’s body and deepen the color from pink to red.
This process does not happen overnight, rather it takes thousands of years to occur. When you examine a specimen with the naked eye, look for edges that may have been missed when it was heated or dyed. Also ask yourself the question of “Does this look like something nature is capable of?” Most of the time you’ll be able to answer that question within a few seconds of asking it. This is one of the few minerals we highly urge you to take EXTRA precautions before buying from anyone!
Energetically, Pink Tourmaline and Rubellite are nearly identical. They both offer up harmonious healing energy that can reawaken one's loving and compassionate side. They each promote emotional healing of the body and mind, while helping to expand your spirit to encompass everlasting peace and joy. To learn more about these minerals and the dramatic positive effect they can have on your life, visit our Pink Tourmaline article here!