Brazil gave the world Paraiba tourmalines – Malawi has brought us yellow tourmalines. New to the gemstone world, yellow (canary) tourmalines were discovered in this century – the year 2000.
The cheerful sunny yellow does not always come out without some effort. Some of the stones must first be placed in a 700 degree Celsius oven for a period of time or else remain with a slight brownish tinge. The heat treatment transforms the light brown into the more popular joyful yellow.
The mining of yellow tourmalines remains a challenge as only 10% of the yield is of gemstone quality and nearly all yellow tourmalines are less than one carat.
And here is something you don’t often hear about a gemstone – it’s odor. Yellow tourmalines have a pleasurable odor noticeable only to the cutter. Experienced cutters like to cut yellow tourmalines because they claim they are the only gemstones that small good! Why do they smell? Because the owner of the gemstone mine in Malawi discovered that the unwanted black material surrounding the crystals was removed easier if the raw crystals were boiled in water that had lemon juice added in.
The wearer, however, cannot discern an odor of any kind.