Elbaite, a sodium boro, with the chemical composition Na(Li1.5Al1.5)Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)4, is a mineral species belonging to the six-member ring cyclosilicate tourmaline group.
Elbaite forms three series, with dravite , with fluor-liddicoatite. Due to these series, specimens with the ideal endmember formula are not found occurring naturally.
As a gemstone , elbaite is a desirable member of the tourmaline group because of the variety and depth of its colours and quality of the crystals. Originally discovered on the island of Elba , Italy in 1913, it has since been found in many parts of the world. In 1994, a major locality was discovered in Canada, at O'Grady Lakes in the Yukon.
Elbaite forms in igneous and metamorphic rocks and veins in association with lepidolite , and spodumene and biotite and cassiterite in massive hydrothermal replacement deposits.
Elbaite is allochromatic, meaning trace amounts of impurities can tint crystals, and it can be strongly pleochroic. Every color of the rainbow may be represented by elbaite, some exhibiting multicolor zonation. Microscopic acicular inclusions in some elbaite crystals show the Cat's eye effect in polished cabochons.