Rubellite is actually nothing more than a variety of Tourmaline (although the most valuable), nonetheless, it may considered as the best variety of this gemstone, that known to the world. Rubellite possesses various shades of red, that could range from a slight rose to delicate pink, though some specimens of violet color are also occur, however the violet varieties are not sufficiently transparent, thus infrequently used in jewelry.
The first European man, who saw the Rubellite was Michael Symes — Irish colonel and diplomat, who paid a visit to Burma (modern Myanmar) in 1795. During the East India Company, he represented the interests of British subjects in Burma, thus he was familiar with the King of Ava.
The Burmese government has banned to export any gemstones out of the country, however, Michael Symes managed to bring a superb collection of Tourmalines, including the first specimen of Rubellite, in spite of these restrictions in 1799. This collection is now stored in the British Museum.
We don’t know for sure, was it a present of the King of Ava or the smuggling, however, in these days the only way to take out any gemstone from Burma was the smuggling, due to the fact, that the King has preferred to store all the best gemstones, obtained from the Burmese mines in his palace.
First Rubellite, which was brought from Burma by Mr. Symes was 7 inches in height and 17 inches round, possessed triangular shape. Its color was described as a pale reddish-brown, whereas its internal color was red or pink.
Rubellite undoubtedly is the most sought-after and thus valuable variety of tourmaline. Rubellite is often used in jewelry, thanks to its magnificent color. The specimens, obtained from Myanmar possess the same value as centuries ago, therefore are the most expensive.
The principal mines of Rubellite are located in Oriental countries, namely in India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, however some specimens are mined in Russia (Siberia) and Brazil, although of inferior quality.
Rubellite was also found in the United States among these abundant mines of Mount Mica.