The Birth of Paraiba
In 1982 a local garimpeiro showed a handful of beautiful neon-blue tourmaline to Heitor Dimas Barbosa, a tourmaline miner from Minas Gerais. This wonderfully colored tourmaline was traced to a manganotantalite prospect on Serra da Frade, a small, steep sided isolated mountain near the village of Sao Jose’ da Batalha in the State of Paraiba, thus the birth of PARAIBA tourmaline. Since finding the source of the tourmalines mining has exposed many sets of small, nearly vertical decomposed granitic pegmatites containing PARAIBA. Locally, these pegmatites are called “lines.”
During 1990, Senhor Barbosa and his partners found themselves involved in an ownership dispute on the Paraiba deposit. Later in the early 1990’s, the deposit was broken into three pieces, each piece with different ownership. During 2000, Senhor Barbosa purchased one portion of the deposit to combine with the portion that he already controlled (a third party still operates a washing plant on Senhor Barbosa’s newly acquired holdings). Senhor Joao Henrique de Souza and Senhora Edna J. Silvestre Henrique own the remainder of the deposit.
In February 1999, T.O.E. Mineracao Ltda. (TOE), a subsidiary of Treasures of the Earth Inc. (US Company), entered into a 7.5-year Mining Rights Agreement with the property owners, Senhor and Senhora Joao Henrique de Souza. TOE mined the alluvial and colluvial deposits over nearly one-half of the total area of the deposit.
While mining the alluvial and colluvial deposits, TOE discovered two previously unknown lines or pegmatites. These hard rock deposits were also thoroughly tested by underground mining. While containing tourmalines, the material was not of gem-quality.
Over years of operation, TOE recovered significant quantities of top color, gem-quality Paraiba tourmalines that were from 6-mm to as large as 10-gm. Material that was smaller than 6-mm was not recovered.
Today, there are several attempts underway to mine on Serra da Frade, but little or no Paraiba Tourmaline is being recovered. The deposit is essentially mined out, depleted. The supply of the world’s finest tourmalines, the Queen of Tourmalines is essentially limited.
Experts define a gem as “an object of personal adornment or decoration that is rare, beautiful, and durable.” Valuable was not mentioned, but VALUE is a direct consequence of rarity, beauty, and durability. Nothing, not diamond, nor ruby, nor emerald, corresponds to this description more clearly than PARAIBA tourmaline. PARAIBA truly defines a “gem,” and Paraiba.com is in the PARAIBA gem and jewelry business.
A single deposit near the small remote village of Sao Jose’ da Batalha in the State of Paraiba in Northeastern Brazil, produces the total World’s supply of the extremely rare and beautiful PARAIBA. In the past three year, the World’s diamond production is reported to have been about 465,000,000 carats; during the same three-year period PARAIBA production was less than 10,000 carats. It is truly one of the RAREST of gem!
The colorful beauty of PARAIBA is unsurpassed; its supernatural electric glow is only amplified by cutting. The glowing exotic color of this unique tourmaline captures the unforgettable color of the Caribbean Sea on a bright sunny afternoon. Wearing PARAIBA jewelry is like having the wonder of the Caribbean Sea with you forever. This is the unchallenged Beauty Queen of Gems!
PARAIBA first appeared on the market in early 1989 at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, creating a tremendous stir because of its unheard of asking price of as much as $900 per carat wholesale for 1- to 3-carat stones. By the end of the Show it was selling for as much as $2,000 per carat. These same stones today can sell for $10,000 per carat. The prices just continue to grow, but it is VALUE and BEAUTY that you are purchasing when buying this marvelously colored tourmaline!
Colors sells! Recently, a very fine quality 5+ carat “neon green” trilliant sold for a reported $19,000 per carat. This is in the same price range as quoted for 5 carat, D-color, VVS-1 diamonds offered for sale by the Rapaport Diamond Corporation in the Rapaport Diamond Report. Yes, $19,000 per carat, that’s Paraiba!
Paraiba.com jewelry in 18-karat white gold is a choice of distinction! The supernatural electric glow of PARAIBA in well designed and artfully created rings, pendants, and necklaces are available from Paraiba.com. If the pieces shown are not to your taste, contact Paraiba.com about a something designed to your personal specifications.
Buying Paraiba tourmaline jewelry is choice of distinction and value; each piece will only become more valuable and envied with time. Purchasing beauty is always a good choice.
Small, rare and very valuable are those copper-containing Tourmalines mined at the Mina da Batalha in the Brazilian state of Paraiba. The vivid turquoise blue to green colors are not shown by any other gemstone in the world, The exclusive uniqueness of the legendary occurrence make these rare gemstones real treasures.
"Paraiba" – the word as such holds a special charm and attraction for gemstone lovers, after all, this is the denomination of a gemstone showing an exceptional, almost electric blue to green shades. It was discovered not long ago, to be precise: in the year 1987. The world owes this sensational find to an individual man and his unshakeable belief: to Heitor Dimas Barbosa. Never tiring, he had been digging with his helpers for years in the pegmatite layers of a small mountain range in the state of Paraiba in Brazil.
Heitor Dimas Barbosa was not just simply a gemstone prospector, and, first of all: he was not searching for something known. He was deeply convinced that somewhere under the famous "Paraiba" hill there was hidden something "completely different" – and in the end his vision proved to be right. As early as 1981 he had started with the first preliminary steps for excavations in old abandoned mines. Hole after hole was driven into the hard soil – but in vain. However, all of a sudden, five and a half years after the first digging, in the labyrinth of shafts and passages there showed the first hints of a Tourmaline occurrence. Finally in autumn 1989 a handful of finest Tourmaline crystals were brought to the light of day from one of the many dark passages. These crystals showed colors which had never been dreamt of before. Unfortunately the "Father of the Paraiba Tourmaline” had to recover from an illness at this time, and could not be there at the mines. The rough crystals were sold without him ever setting eyes on them. After the find had become publicly known, the most adventurous stories happened at the mines. For a period of another five years the relatively small mountain range measuring only 400 m in length, 200 m in width and 65 m in height, had been turned into a virtual honeycomb of shafts and tunnels, and the mountain had almost been leveled. But in vain. And by now, nobody expects another find any more.
Copper makes the difference
Brazil is the classical Tourmaline country. This multi-colored gemstone family show practically all the colors of the rainbow. However, a brilliant turquoise shade had always been missing for a long time – until the valuable find was made at Paraiba.
Usually it is traces of iron, manganese, chromium and vanadium which are responsible for giving Tourmalines their many beautiful colors. But this is quite different for the rare Paraiba Tourmaline: it owes its spectacular color to copper, an element which had not shown up in Tourmalines before. There is a clear part of its weight made up by copper. In addition, it often also contains manganese as scientists have found out.
The combination of these two elements causes a wide range of beautiful and fascinating colors in Paraiba Tourmalines: emerald green, turquoise to sky-blue, sapphire blue, indigo blue, dark purple to red purple. Certain mixtures of copper and manganese may also result in pale grey to purplish-blue colors. A high concentration of copper is responsible for the much coveted brilliant blues, turquoises and greens, while purples and reds are caused by manganese. By heating the stones, experienced cutters are able to eliminate the red traces, so that only the bright copper color will show.
The exceptionally vivid character of Paraiba Tourmalines, however, can only be appreciated after the stone has been cut. When it has been faceted, a unique fire and brilliance is displayed, which makes the stone seem to glow and shine from within even when there is little light. Therefore the color is often characterized as "electric" or "neon". Fresh and full of energy is the charm and attraction of these treasures of Nature. A Paraiba Tourmaline in "swimming-pool blue” is the epitome of vividness and easy to discern even for an amateur.
Paraiba Tourmalines are almost always very small, as the beautiful copper-containing Tourmaline crystals mined in the "fine hill” at Paraiba were almost exclusively fragments and splinters. Larger, unfragmented rough stones weighing over 5 gram were rare and only very few achieved weights of more than 20 gram. Therefore you will hardly find a larger Paraiba Tourmaline at a jeweler’s or gemstone trader’s, besides, only a select few of these will even carry this kind of stone.
The beauty and vividness of color shown by Paraiba Tourmalines gave reason to enthusiasm for the gemstone world. Within only a short period considerable popularity had been gained, and these stones today belong to the most coveted and most expensive stones in the world. Prices continue to go up, and in the meantime they have reached such regions which used to be considered utopian for Tourmalines in the past. Five digit carat prices are asked and paid for fine, larger Paraiba Tourmalines. The market almost completely and immediately soaked up the limited offer of rough stones. This is easy to understand, for here Nature created a gemstone which is second to none concerning color, brilliance and luminosity. And without Heitor Dimas Barbosa and his vision to find "something completely different", it probably would not exist on the market at all.