Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Alix & Co. Paraiba Tourmaline and Pearl Necklace + Bracelet

Alix & Co. Paraiba Tourmaline + Pearl Necklace
Copyright 2012 EraGem Jewelry
Photo used with permission

When Janet Alix was a teenager, her grandfather took her shopping for her birthday. Upon choosing a set of jewelry-making tools, her course was set. Now the proud owner of a California-based jewelry boutique, Alix & Co., she continues to pursue her passion for designing matchless jewelry.

Janet has partnered with a fantastic team of people to create one-of-a-kind fine jewelry for her loyal customers. She and her team, consisting of Lori Brooke (business manager/creative director) and Karen Anlacher and Brian Booth (expert goldsmiths), are dedicated to using recycled metals and conflict-free gemstones for all their pieces.

Ms. Anlacher, who lives in Mill Valley, California, but hails from Germany, lends a cultural verve to her craft. Her meticulous attention to detail give pieces like this 18k and 22k gold and platinum necklace an air of excellence that sets it apart as a work of art.

Mr. Booth and his wife, Lily, work together from their workshop, Booth Custom Jewelers, in Raleigh North Carolina. Their dedication to excellence in craftsmanship, as well as their ecologically sound practice of using recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds, has forged a lasting partnership with Alix & Co. When they aren’t working on custom pieces for Alix & Co., the couple create and restore heirloom and antique jewelry for local clientele in Raleigh.

This necklace, and its matching bracelet are a prime example of Alix & Co.’s “Freize” style. Set in solid gold and then nestled in a platinum bow-shaped rim, twelve pearls shimmer next to their granulated gold settings. A hinge-type piece made of spiraled gold set on either end with radiant turquoise paraiba tourmaline cabochons links each of the twelve bows together to form the complete necklace.

Alix & Co. Paraiba Tourmaline + Pearl Bracelet
Copyright 2012 EraGem Jewelry
Used with permission

Paraiba tourmalines were first discovered in 1989, by the persistent Heitor Dimas Barbosa. Convinced that the pegmatite galleries punctuating the hills of the Federal Brazilian State of Paraiba held something ‘completely different,’ Barbosa and his team spent nearly a decade drilling into the earth in search of the fulfillment of his hunch. {10}

Finally, the fruit of their tireless labors paid off. Raw crystals of a never-before-seen turquoise tourmaline were extracted from the now-famous 'Paraiba Hill'. The folks at the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) attest that “the ‘swimming-pool-blue’ of a Paraiba tourmaline positively flashes with vivacity.” The unique color is a the result of traces of copper and manganese within the crystal structure.

Sources for Brazilian paraiba tourmaline appear to have been exhausted, and although limited caches of similar copper-rich, blue-green tourmaline have been discovered in Nigeria and Mozambique, the gem is still in far greater demand than the supply can bear. This disparity is reflected in the going rates for the tiny natural wonders. Carat for carat, paraiba tourmalines rival top gemstones in value, often selling for between $10,000 and $20,000 per carat.

The pairing of unparalleled artistry and the rare electric turquoise gemstones in this paraiba tourmaline necklace by Alix & Co. make it the perfect choice for the avid jewelry collector.


1. “About.” alixandcompany, accessed January 30, 2013.
2. Beurlen, Hartmut, et. al. Abstract from “Geochemical and geological controls on the genesis of gem-quality ‘Paraiba Tourmaline’ in granite pegmatites from northeastern Brazil.” The Canadian Mineralogist, accessed January 30, 2013.
3. Hall, Judy. 101 Power Crystals: The Ultimate Guide to Magical Crystals, Gems, and Stones. Lion’s Bay, Canada: Fairwinds Press, 2011.
4. Marin Magazine Editors. “Our favorite Marin boutiques and jewelers to keep you fashionable.” Marin Magazine, August 2012 online, Style.
5. Matlins, Antoinette Leonard and Antonio C. Bonanno. Gem Identification Made Easy: A Hands-On Guide to More Confident Buying & Selling. Woodstock: GemStone Press, 2008.
6. Matlins, Antoinette L. Colored Gemstones: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide, Third Edition. Woodstock: GemStone Press, 2010.
7. “Meet Us!” alixandcompany, accessed January 30, 2013.
8. “Our Story.” Booth Custom Jewelers, accessed, January 30, 2013.
9. “Paraiba Tourmaline.” GemSelect, accessed January 30, 2013.
10. “Paraiba Tourmaline.” International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), accessed January 30, 2013.
11. Thomas, Arthur. Gemstones: Properties, Identification and Use. London: New Holland Publishers, 2008.
12. “Update on ‘Paraiba’ Tourmaline from Brazil, An (abstract).” GIA, accessed January 30, 2013.

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy


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