April 24, 2014

Paraiba Prevails

A short 22 years ago, a discovery in a remote Brazilian mine set the jewelry industry on fire. On that day in 1989, miner, Heitor Dimas Barbosa emptied a bag full of bright blue crystals to show an incredulous gem dealer, Marcelo Bernardes. Scattered across the table was Paraiba tourmaline, a resplendent semi-precious stone of rare make-up and a brilliant turquoise hue.

Paraiba caught my attention in the mid 1990’s. I was drawn not only to the newness of the stone but to its name and the vibrant bluish-green color. The entrancing turquoise shade of paraiba is owed to traces of copper, an element that has never been found in a gemstone before. The interplay between the two elements yields a mélange of fascinating colors – sea foam green, turquoise and pastel blue.


As soon as paraiba was introduced to the public it became one of the most highly coveted and hungrily sought-after stones. Soon enough, it started garnering higher prices than its precious gemstone counterparts, making it one of the most expensive stones on the market.

Paraiba has been my favorite semi-precious stone to work with and I try to buy every great specimen I come across. In the past I have designed numerous pieces of jewelry with the gemstone as the centerpiece and each was received with unanimous delight. Clients familiar with the unique stone typically freeze in front of the showcases containing them. They inquire if it is indeed the rare gem and want to hold it in their hands.

My passion for paraiba continues despite increasing difficulty finding great stones. I have collected paraibas of all shapes and sizes. As a result of that passion, I was able to create unique pieces which are absolutely striking to behold. My Collage Wave Necklace with pear-shaped paraibas and white diamonds is a perfect example of such a piece.

Sadly, the original mine in Brazil is exhausted and the supply of the bluish-green Paraiba tourmaline is sparse. Other paraiba tourmaline mines exist in Mozambique, and while beautiful, these stones are more of a sea-foam green in color.

This sets the stage for the few existing paraiba tourmaline jewels in my collection to be even more exclusive. I believe that this electric jewel will only become more valuable as time goes on.