Centuries later, Dutch traders in the Indian Ocean brought back to Europe numerous examples of Tourmaline. According to legend, while the Tourmaline were on display in Amsterdam, Dutch children pointed out that the straw from the packaging material was magically attached to the stones. Soon after, Dutch scientists confirmed the unusual trait. While the legend is endearing, it is more likely that Tourmaline’s pyroelectic properties were discovered by Dutch jewelers, who commonly tested the durability of new gemstones by placing them in a fire. When heated, the Tourmaline would have attracted the ash from the fire. Indeed, Tourmaline was originally called aschentrekker, or “ash-attracter”. Later it was called the “electric stone.”
During this time period, Tourmaline’s metaphysical qualities were first recorded. A European lapidary in 1632 states: “[Tourmaline is] the stone of wisdom, that is clear and resistant to all vagaries of fate.” Seventy years later, Tourmaline’s modern name was first used when the Dutch East India Company marketed Sri Lanka Tourmaline by its Sinhalese name, Turamli, which is thought to have meant either “stone with mixed colors” or “gem pebbles”.