Black Tourmaline

mineralogy, history, and metaphysics

Welcome to the Black Tourmaline page. Here, you will learn everything you need to know, including mineralogy, history, metaphysics, and more!



NaFe2+ 3Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)


Found worldwide. Well-known localities include Brazil, Madagascar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka.


(Grounding, Stability, Negative Energy Deflection)


Black tourmaline is the black colored crystalline silicate member of the tourmaline family of minerals. It is the most common species of tourmaline, and may account for 90% or more of all tourmaline that is found in nature. Also known as schorl, it gets its black color from the amount of iron it contains. When heated, it becomes negatively charged at one end and positively charged at the other. Forming in the Trigonal crystal structure, single crystals are easy to identify by their curved triangular cross-section, with parallel striations running up the sides, and a pyramidal termination at the top. If thin crystals are held up to the light, they often take on a brown or green tinge. The tourmaline mineral group is one of the most chemically complicated groups of silicate minerals. Its composition varies widely because of isomorphous replacement, or solid solution replacement, which creates the possibility of displaying a wide range of zoned colors within a single crystal. Colored crystal variations of tourmaline with high transparency are often strongly dichroic, which means that they have the ability to shift and change color when viewed at different axes positions.


Early history and mining of black tourmaline stretches back into the late 1300’s, when the town of Schorl, which is currently named Saxony, Germany, originally discovered it within the tin mines of the area. Along with black tourmaline, or schorl, another mineral called cassiterite was highly sought after for its valuable tin content. In fact, cassiterite is still considered a primary ore of tin today. Throughout modern history, tourmaline has been prized for its wide array of color and clarity. It has been frequently cut and used as a gemstone, with exceptionally well-formed crystals being highly sought after by collection enthusiasts. In addition to its use as a popular gem, tourmaline is often applied in high pressure devices. This use is employed because of its piezoelectric properties, which is the ability to generate electric charge under mechanical stress, or friction. It has been used in depth-sounding mechanics and apparatus, as well as other devices that detect and measure variations in pressure.


There are three primary types of tourmaline, which are distinguished by the predominance of certain elements: iron tourmaline, or schorl, which is black in color; magnesium rich tourmaline, or dravite, which is brown to yellow in color; and alkali, or lithium tourmaline, called rubellite, which is pink in color, as well as the rarest form, called indicolite, which is vibrant green to blue in color. Occasionally, certain crystals of bi-color tourmaline are pink at one end and green at the other, while other rare and highly sought-after variants display beautiful and contrasting bi-color combinations of pink and blue zoning. Additionally, a rare variant of tourmaline, called Watermelon Tourmaline, displays initial zoning formation of pink rubellite, with a later developed variant of green indicolite encasing the initial rubellite formation. Formations of multicolored tourmaline zoning occurs when the trace elements change in concentration or composition during a crystal’s growth process. Another formation, which is found in extremely rare occurrences, is a complex calcium-rich lithium tourmaline from Madagascar, called Liddicoatite. It is revered for its well-developed color zoning and unusual Trigonic crystal symmetry. The trigonal pattern is most visible when the tourmaline is polished into slices, with color zoning often ranging between combinations of pink-blue-green-yellow. Liddicoatite was named in honor of Richard T. Liddicoat, who lived March 2, 1917 through July 23, 2002. He was the second president of the GIA and is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Gemology.”


Metaphysically, black tourmaline is said to bring an abundance of protection and emotional support to its user. A stone of the Root Chakra, it can aid in negative energy deflection and help to provide personal stability. A powerful tool for grounding and balancing energy, it often used to bring a sense of peace and calm to chaotic situations. Black tourmaline is also said to help protect its user from EMF radiation and electromagnetic disturbances. Physically, it is said that black tourmaline can help aid the body with immune system response, as well as afflictions of the spine, joints, and lungs.