If you were born in October, you probably know all about your birthstones of opal and tourmaline. You’ve read the same old facts about the common varieties of these, and know what each of them look like, but here is something to spike your interest: Liddicoatite is a member of the tourmaline family whose body is host to an elaborate geometric pattern, consisting of alternating vibrant colours that aren’t seen within any other gemstone.
Liddicoatite is a very rare variety of tourmaline, almost identical in chemical composition apart from its replacement of sodium atoms by calcium atoms in its matrix. It is recognized by its dramatic colour zoning and intricate patterns, which can resemble that of the Mercedes Benz logo. The name ‘Liddicoatite’ was given lovingly after Ricard T. Liddicoat – the former president of GIA and inventor of the diamond grading system, after his breakthrough discoveries and contribution towards gemological science.
This variety of tourmaline has been discovered mainly in the Anjanabonoina pegmatite deposit within central Madagascar and was only officially recognized by gemologists as its own species in 1977. Other significant deposits of these tourmalines, but not as impressively geometric or coloured, are located within Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Mozambique, and Russia.
Generally, these fantastic stones aren’t faceted but instead sold as polished slices to display their patterns, or are carved into wonderful pendants or sculptures. Creative artists thrive with Liddicoatite, making elaborate designs and beautiful constructions for people to display. One of which is this gorgeous carved duck mounted in a rutile quartz bowl, and this intaglio displaying an older man within a ballet. There are some impressive faceted versions of these stones which show off astonishing colours within its body, however these are rare on the market.
In terms of spirituality and healing, tourmalines are thought to be highly protective crystals which balance your energy centers and rid any harmful thoughts. Those with a multi-coloured mass (like our species here) are thought to dispel anger and resentment, and the Liddicoatite tourmaline specifically is know to provide insight into causes of conflict.
Written By Victoria Fletcher