A member of the tourmaline group of minerals, tourmaline was "discovered" in the early 1800s that some of the "zircons" arriving in European gem centers from the far east were actually a previously undescribed mineral. This mineral can be identified by its hexagonal crystals and hardness. Famous localities for the occurrence of gem varieties include Minas Gerais, Brazil, Ural Mountain, and Madagascar.

Mineral Photos courtesy of R.Weller/Cochise College