Tourmaline is the most colorful of all gemstones. It occurs in all colors, but pink, red, green, blue and multicolored are its most well-known gem colors. Reported by Christianus-Fridericus Garmann in 1707, the name "tourmali" was a generic name used in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for colored gems, mostly Zircons. Scientifically, Tourmaline is not a single mineral, but a group of minerals related in their physical and chemical properties. The mineral Elbaite is the member of the Tourmaline group that is responsible for almost all the gem varieties. Three other members of the group - Schorl, Dravite and Liddicoatite, are seldom used as gemstones.
The most common species of Tourmaline is Schorl, the sodium iron endmember of the group. It may account for 95% or more of all Tourmaline in nature. The most expensive and valuable form of Tourmaline is the rare neon-blue form known by the trade name Paraiba Tourmaline, discovered in a gem pegmatite in the Brazilian state of Paraiba in 1989.