Tourmaline for October

Navajo-Inspired Roseville "Tourmaline" Pot with Mottled Turquoise Glazing (LEO Design)

People born in October may choose between two birthstones: the opal or the tourmaline. Tourmalines were first mined in Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) and shipped to Europe in vast quantities by the Dutch East India Company in the 1600's.  At the time, they were considered an exotic luxury.  Subsequently, they have been found in Brazil, Africa, Afghanistan and the United States.  They come in a variety of colors and some of them have magnetic qualities, due to the iron content in some examples.

The Art Deco pot, shown above, is magnetic in appearance alone.  It was made by Roseville in the 1930's and its shape was inspired by classic Native American ceramics.  The glazing was named "Tourmaline," though it has (to my eyes) only the faintest resemblance to any of the namesake gemstone.  Yet, it is a handsome vase in a beautiful, dappled aqueous glaze. Perhaps—given the Southwestern shape and aqua-blue coloration—it should have been named "Turquoise."  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


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