Updated: Dec 23, 2019
From the Brazilian state of Paraiba, neon-bright Paraiba comes from the tourmaline family. Paraiba tourmalines are one of the most sought-after gems in the world. First discovered in the 1980s by Heitor Dimas Barbosa - who spent years digging in the hills of the Brazilian state of Paraiba on a hunch that something special was hidden there - he must have known he had hit the jackpot when he set eyes on his first, neon-bright Paraiba tourmaline.
Paraiba Tourmaline is considered to be one of two different birthstones that can be accepted for the month of October and because of this, it is also one of the gemstones for Libras and Scorpios. It does tend to vary in color, like most Tourmaline, but its brilliance and somewhat neon glow comes from that fact that it contains the element Copper. Along with copper, Tourmaline is comprised of the Aluminium Borosilicate element and also contains Iron, Magnesium, and Lithium. Paraiba, is the only form of Tourmaline that contains Copper. The German Foundation for Gemstone Research has also found high Gold content within Paraiba Tourmaline, equaling to about 8.6 parts per every million.
What makes Paraiba so special? Almost every shade of tourmaline can be found in Brazil, but none has the vivid glow that distinguishes the Paraiba tourmaline, also known as cuprian elbaite. A product of the trace element copper, colours range from startling turquoise to majestic blue-green, but it is the incandescent glow that appears to light up the stone from within that makes Paraiba tourmalines incomparable to any other gem.
How rare you ask? To put their rarity into perspective, there is only one Paraiba tourmaline mined for every 10,000 diamonds, and a good quality Paraiba from Brazil weighing over three carats is virtually unheard of. So rare are authentic Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines that it is not unusual for them to achieve five figures per carat. So there you go, this is Paraiba.