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Rubellite: description, properties and photo


Rubellite is a commercial variety of tourmaline mineral. It’s pink to red color. Most often referred to elbaite in composition. It got its name due to its color. The latin word “rubellus” has the meaning “reddish”.

The rubellite color palette contains various shades of red, including pink, raspberry, purple and fuchsia.


Natural rubellite perfectly accepts polishing. It is very beautiful in cut. The mineral has a high enough hardness to be mounted in everyday jewelry. It is close to garnets and beryls (7-7.5 on the Mohs scale) by its hardness. Rubellites (like other varieties of tourmaline) belong to the trigonal syngony. Its crystals look like elongated prisms with a hatching on the surface located in the direction of the main axis. In the cross section of the crystal is a triangle with rounded sides. Color is caused by impurities. Manganese, for example.


Brazil has been the main place for the extraction of gem quality rubellites until recently. Most rough materials come from deposits in Nigeria, Mozambique, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries. Also from Russia – Malkhan, Transbaikal region. There are deposits of pink and pink-red tourmaline.
















tourmaline, elbaite variety

Chemical formula: 

XY3Al6 (OHF) 4 [BO3] 3 [Si6O18], where X = Na, Ca, Li, and Y = Fe2 +, Mg, Mn, Al, G, V

Crystal Systems:


Mohs scale hardness:


Optical character:





3.06 (+0.20, -0.06) g / cm3



Refractive index:







pink to red

Interesting facts

  • Rubellit is considered the mascot of creative people: artists, poets, sculptors. This pink-red stone contributes to inspiration according to legend.
  • The Diamond Fund of Russia contains a well-known specimen of rubellite in the form of a bunch of grapes, weighing more than 250 carats.
  • Rubellite is one of the most beloved and coveted stones for chinese people.


This tourmaline was defined as “lal” which means "darling", "precious", or "beloved",from the Sanskrit "lala" along with other scarlet stones (spinel, garnets, ruby), in the Middle Ages, before the discovery of mineralogical research methods. Thanks in large part to its beauty and magnificent color rubellite adorns the royal regalia of various kings. One of the historical artifacts is a bunch of grapes made from a large crystal of rubellite, known as Caesar's Ruby. This work is currently exhibited at the Diamond Fund. Rubellites are loved by designers of famous jewelry houses who beat him in products both in faceted and in cabochons.


The crystals can be irradiated and heat treated to obtain a bright raspberry color. Tourmaline, including rubellite, may contain various impurities that are responsible for color. Heat treatment is used sometimes to lighten very dark stones mined in Nigeria. Irradiation is also very rarely used to increase color saturation. However, there is no single controlled technology for color change with a predictable result, since impurities in different crystals differ even from one deposit.



pink tourmaline beads selection for necklace

On the photo: pink tourmaline beads selection for necklace

faceted rubellites

On the photo: faceted rubellites

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