New book promises to reveal the secrets of the Paraiba gemstone

A key group of professionals from the jewelry and gemstone industry were present in two cities to celebrate the launch of a new book on the rare and valuable gemstone Paraiba tourmaline.

The book, “Paraiba: A Legacy of a Color,” was first unveiled June 28 in Paris at the Salon d’ete, Ritz Place Vendome, with guests including Stanislas de Quercize, the former president and CEO of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, jewelry artists Emmanuel Tarpin and Lydia Courteille, and Moizes Ferreira de Lima, owner of Paraiba mines in Brazil, Mozambique and Nigeria.

This was followed by a dinner at Scott’s Mayfair on July 1, attended by Melanie Grant, jewellery author, journalist and director of the Responsible Jewellery Council, Josina von dem Bussche-Kessell, creative director of Fabergé, and Tamara Moussaieff of the famous London jewellery house Moussaieff.

Written by Kevin Ferreira, a gemologist specializing in Paraiba tourmaline, and Katerina Perez, an internationally known jewelry influencer, the charming coffee table book features input from a veritable “who’s who” of people in the gem and jewelry world. It covers the history of its discovery, its appeal to collectors and leading jewelry designers, and the discovery of new mines that allow the gemstone to continue to be collected and used in exceptional jewelry.

Although academics and collectors recognize the beauty and value of Paraiba tourmaline, this rare and vibrant gemstone enjoys little recognition among the general public.

The gemstone takes its name from the Brazilian state of Paraiba, where it was first unearthed in the late 1980s. It is distinguished by its color, which ranges from electric or neon blue (the most sought-after color) to emerald green and various stages of blue-green hues. The colors are caused by the interaction of copper and manganese in the tourmaline. No gemstone or mineral better reflects the colors and brilliance of the ocean than high-quality paraiba. Even without the benefit of thousands of years of history, the vibrant hues of this modern-day paraiba quickly made it the most talked-about precious gem discovery in decades.

Ferreira’s knowledge of paraiba comes from his family’s involvement in mining the gemstone in Brazil and Africa. He brings his experience and expertise to this world by tracing the origins of paraiba in Brazil and later in Mozambique and Nigeria. He also recounts the price fluctuations over the years, from the peak of demand when Brazil was the only source of the gemstone to the decline in price when alternative sources were discovered in Africa. Although the original source of Brazilian paraiba has all but disappeared, with only small fragments of the gemstone found, the discoveries in African mines mean it will live on. Even with the new mines, paraiba tourmaline remains a rare gemstone with great value and a variety of uses in jewelry.

Perhaps the most recognized jewelry influencer in the world, Perez discusses the role of Paraiba in jewelry design as both a centerpiece and to enhance the overall jewelry design. In conversations with academics, designers, and luxury brand leaders, Perez demonstrates the versatility of Paraiba in high jewelry design through her personal experiences, the words of experts, and many visual examples.

In a short section, Laurent Massi, gemologist, doctor of physics, lecturer and photomicrographer, discusses how Paraiba tourmaline is valued based on its color, cut, clarity and weight; as well as a subgroup of stones known as “phenomenal,” based on their unique luminous properties.

De Quercize, a veteran executive in the luxury industry, writes the foreword to the book, in which he poetically recounts the search for Paraiba and its natural beauty, and its use in exceptional jewelry when placed in the hands of skilled, leading jewelry designers.

“Paraiba: A Legacy of Color” is published by Watch Print and is currently available online through the publisher’s website.

Follow @paraibapassion on Instagram for more information about Paraiba.