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Pink tourmaline vs rubellite


Can anybody please give me a defintive answery on how you determine
if a stone is pink tourmaline vs rubellite. I have been to 3
different GIA gemologists, they look at the same ring and I get
different answers which of course effects the appraisal amount. As
a consumer I want to make sure that I’m getting what I’m paying for!


Karen, rubellite is a pink tourmaline. In "Gemstones of the World"
by Schumann. He says, “According to color, the following varieties
are recognized in the trade: rubellite, pink to red, sometimes with a
violet tint; ruby color is the most valuable.” Every stone in those
colors illustrated is labeled “rubellite”. In my mineralogy book, the
variety of tourmaline that keys out red is called “Rubellite”.
However, it looks to me like one could make a red stone out of the
center of a watermelon tourmaline, and I don’t think that the
chemical formula would be the same as the pink tourmaline called
that is formed in lithium mica, as in the San Diego area deposits,
which are colored by lithium. I am neither a gemologist or a
jeweler. A spectrographic analysis would probably determine whether
or not the stone contains lithium or another coloring agent (iron?)
but I don’t know if such a test is done on finished stones. If the
trade goes by color only, everybody is correct. Sincerely yours, Rose
Alene McArthur


There is no real “definable” difference between the two. A stunning
pink tourmaline can be much more expensive than a medium quality red

It’s a matter of opinion whether it’s “pink” enough. All that can be
relied upon is the scientific data as to whether or not the material
is tourmaline!

Think about it as trying to define whether or not a particular rose
is red or pink.

Tony Konrath


For any definitive answer on stones that seem to be in a gray area,
I would always advise to send the stone to a gem lab. Three of them
that I recommend are the following:

Cap Beesley at American Gem Laboratories (212) 704 0727.

GIA see their websie Phone number 760-603-4500 and

AGTA see their website Their phone number is
214-742-4367 or 800-972-1162

Diane Sadel


Rubellite - Brownish, Orangey , or Purplish Pink to Red . " Gemology,
2nd edition by C.S. Hurlbut, jr. & R.C. Kammerling

The following is from Palmieri’s Market Monitor for October 2002
using the GIA Colored Stone Grading System with a GIA Color Master or
equivalent color matching system.

Pink Tourmaline - Hue Red - Orange to Orange - Red, orangy
Red, Red, slightly purplish Red, strongly purplish Red, Red -
Purple to Purple - Red, reddish Purple

Rubellite - Hue the same as Pink Tourmaline while the Tone and
Saturation are closer to the ideal target of medium tone with strong
to vivid saturation .

Cost to retailers from dealers for net cash, single stone.

Pink Tourmaline 1 - 5 ct. $ 75 - 120 $/ct. Very Good Grade

Rubellite 1 - 5 ct. $ 90 - 130 $/ct. Very Good

As You can see, there are a number of variables in grading colored
stones. There are more variables than in grading diamonds . In the
end, the criteria are market driven . You need a Gemologist Appraiser
. The appraisal(s) should also have been done for the same end
market. If You need the appraisal enough to warrant the expense, send
it in to a certified lab , GIA or AGTA .

Robert L.Powell GGS.

I would like some feedback on my input pertinent to this matter .

To my understanding , a gemologist is an intermediary between buyer
and seller, trying to represent fairly and even handedly to both

 how you determine if a stone is pink tourmaline vs rubellite 

Karen, from the GIA Gem Reference Guide. “Rubellite - Loosely
applied to stones in the pink to red range; may be brownish, orangy,
or purplish.” This doesn’t help much does it.

This is a lot like the question of pink sapphire or ruby. In my
view, a Rubellite is a RED tourmaline. The term Rubellite comes fro
Ruby Like. The question is when does the tone and saturation of the
red become strong enough to be classed as a Rubellite vs a Pink.
The Guide describes them this way. “Pink Tourmaline - Strongly
purplish red, slightly purplish red, red. Tone and saturation
levels distinguish Pink tourmaline from Red Tourmaline.” " Red
Tourmaline (Rubellite) - Strongly purplish red, slightly purplish
red, red. Also brown modifier to these hues."



Thank you for your response. You would not believe the numerous
differences of opinions. Sounds like a hot topic for some. My
concern was that I expect pink tourmalines, in general, to be
cleaner. I have two that are eye clean with two different shapes of
pink. My appraiser only gave me $125 for a 4 ct stone which has alot
of red to it with pink undertones. The book that she uses to grade
clearly separates pink tourmaline from rubellite and I felt maybe her
determination of a SI2 pink tourmaline might be different in price
than a SI2 rubellite. My understanding is that the more red it has
the more included it is likely to be. Are they both a type III? Or
is pink a type II? My other red tourmaline she listed as a type II
vs a III?.

Thanks for your info, everything to clarify helps.



Hi, Thanks for you response. Yes I know that rubellite is pink
tourmaline or what some call red tourmaline. It’s just that stones
with more red tend to be accepted with more inclusions than truly
pink ones and I was just curious if there was an industry standard on
this subject. Based on the responses, no.