Published December 2014  •  Updated October 2022  •  Read Time: 7 minutes
Tourmaline is a group of 11 borosilicate minerals.  The three main varieties are Schorl (black), Dravite (brown, yellow and green) and Elbaite (all colors).  Its name comes from a Sri Lankan language and means “multicolored gem pebbles.”  It is mined around the world, from the gravel along rivers to deep underground.  Tourmaline has a slight pyroelectric ability and can attract or repel hot ash.  Depending on the color and variety, each stone has a different energy signature.  But all colors have a grounded, deep and/or bold energy, rather than something subtle or ethereal.  Each one shines bright with confidence and positive vibes.

Tourmaline Multi Colored tourmaline meaning

Tourmaline Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Tourmaline is a stone of balance, helping us to live in true harmony within our own body, mind, heart, and spirit. It inspires us to be fully honest and authentic in how we express ourselves, both verbally and in action.  This honest expression in turn leads to a feeling of greater freedom in every area of our lives. The more we live in harmony with ourselves, the wiser and happier we become, and thus more able to be of assistance to others. Tourmaline helps balance all energetic fields, including the Chakra System.

Metaphysical Properties Tourmaline
Chakra Root and Heart
Element Water and Earth
Numerology 2 and 8
Zodiac Libra and Gemini

Emotional Healing Properties

Tourmaline reduces fear and the feeling of being un-grounded, replaces those negative feelings with greater self-confidence and positivity. It is a wonderful stone to help us let go of victim mentality and move forward after emotional trauma.  It also encourages us to be more curious in general, and more willing to explore the root of our emotions in particular. As we learn more, we gain greater control over our emotions and become increasingly compassionate and capable of self-love. Tourmaline also helps balance the male/female sides of our brain and stimulates our imagination.

Mental Healing Properties

Tourmaline is useful for balancing the right and left sides of the brain, making it easier to use logic and creativity together.  It is also helpful for exploring our inner beliefs and seeing how they reflect in our outer lives. Anyone who struggles with money or romantic relationships, may benefit enormously be working it.  The grounding and powerful energy makes such explorations feel safe, and this in turn encourages us to look deeper and create positive change.  It is a stone of inspiration and creativity, helping us to make the leaps in logic that lead to simple solutions for complex problems.

Physical Healing Properties

Tourmaline is thought to stimulate the metabolic and immune systems.

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Tourmaline Mineralogy

Where does Tourmaline come from?

Tourmaline is a group of 11 minerals, the most common being Dravite, Elbaite and Schorl.  While Schorl is reliably black, Dravite and Elbaite can appear in a rainbow of colors.

  • Dravite comes from Australia, Austria, Brazil, India, Italy, Nepal, Switzerland, Tanzania, and the United States
  • Elbaite comes from Afghanistan, Brazil, Italy, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Russia and the United States
  • Schorl comes from Argentina, Brazil Canada, Czech Republic, France, India, Italy, Namibia, Pakistan, Portugal, Sweden, and the United States

Mining and Treatments

It is a fairly common mineral, but gem quality crystals are relatively rare, and found almost exclusively in Pegmatite. Numerous mines exist whose primary purpose is finding gem-quality crystals.

Opaque stones are natural, enhanced only by cutting and polishing. But transparent crystals can be heat-treated to brighten the color.  For example a dark green gem might be  heat-treated to become a vivid emerald green.  Such treatments primarily occur in the fine gemstone jewelry industry. Lab-created stones also exists, but are typically used for research purposes and are not readily available to the general public.

Tourmaline Placeholder
Tourmaline

Mineral Family

Tourmaline is a generic term which refers to 11 varieties of borosilicate minerals that can be any color of the rainbow.  Silicates are minerals which contain the elements Silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and Oxygen (a colorless gas). Together, these two elements form a tetrahedra – a shape similar to a pyramid – with a Silicon atom in the center and Oxygen atoms at each of the three corners. These tetrahedras connect with other chemical structures, in six different ways, to form various minerals and rocks. There are six main groups of Silicate minerals, and these main groups are further subdivided into a variety of secondary subdivisions, such as Quartz and Feldspar. Tourmaline belongs to the cyclosilicate family.  Cyclo means circle and all the minerals in this family form closed rings of tetrahedras.  They are borosilicats, which are cyclosilicates that contain the element boron.

Tourmaline’s energy works well with its family – other Cyclosilicate minerals.  Try it in combination with AquamarineDioptaseEmeraldEudialyteloliteMorganite, and Sugilite.

Tourmaline Formation and Crystal Associates

Tourmaline is created when liquid magma from a volcanic explosion cools down and transforms into igneous rocks. During this cooling down period, borosilica acid shifts from being a gas/liquid into a solid compound. Most varieties are found in Pegmatite, a type of ignenous rock which typically develops underwater

Tourmaline’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with AmazoniteAquamarine, Lepidolite, Moonstone, Quartz, and Smoky Quartz.

Why are some Tourmalines multicolored?

Elbaite Tourmalinecan come in every shade of the rainbow and sometimes multiple colors are found in the same crystal.  These different colors show a visual record of how the stone grew.  The color on the inside or bottom of the crystal is the older material, while the part on the outside or top is the younger material.  Most of the time multicolored crystal are called Bicolored Tourmalines.  The most famous variety is Watermelon Tourmaline which has a pink interior with a green ring.  When sawed into thin cross-sections it looks just like the delicious fruit. 

Mineralogy Tourmaline
Chemical Formula NA (Mg, Fe, Li, Mn, Al )3Al6(BO3)3Si6O18(OH,F)4
Cleavage Indistinct
Color All colors
Crystal System Hexagonal/triagonal
Form/Habit Prismatic, acicular
Fracture Uneven, small conchoidal, brittle
Hardness – Mohs Scale 7-7.5
Luminescence Blue (short wave)
Luster Vitreous
Mineral Family Cyclosilicates
Specific Gravity 2.82-3.32
Streak White
Transparency Transparent to opaque

History of Tourmaline

Tourmaline comes in every color making it difficult to trace in early lapidaries, texts which describe gemstones and their powers.  In antiquity, it was most likely confused with other similarly-colored gemstones, such as green Emeralds, red Rubies and yellow Topaz.  The name “Tourmaline” reflects this multicolored splendor.  It comes from the Sri Lankan word turmali, which can be translated as “stone with mixed colors” or “gem pebbles.”  Sri Lanka is known for its beautiful Elbaite that come in every shade of the rainbow.  The Dutch East India Company first visited Sri Lanka in 1602, and then took control of the island’s coastline from 1640 until 1789.  Among the many imports that the Dutch East India Company brought back to Europe were sparkly gemstones.  The oldest record for its healing powers is from a lapidary published in 1632 which calls Tourmaline, “the stone of wisdom, that is clear and resistant to all vagaries of fate.”

The name “Tourmaline” reflects this multicolored splendor.  It comes from the Sri Lankan word turmali, which can be translated as “stone with mixed colors” or “gem pebbles.”  Sri Lanka is known for its beautiful Elbaite Tourmalines that come in every shade of the rainbow.  The Dutch East India Company first visited Sri Lanka in 1602, and then took control of the island’s coastline from 1640 until 1789.  Among the many imports that the Dutch East India Company brought back to Europe were sparkly gemstones.  The oldest record for Tourmaline’s healing powers is from a lapidary published in 1632 which calls Tourmaline, “the stone of wisdom, that is clear and resistant to all vagaries of fate.”

According to legend, when the Dutch East India Company introduced Elbaite to northern Europe, they were placed 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 pyroelectric properties were discovered by Dutch jewelers, who commonly tested the durability of new gemstones by placing them in a fire. When heated, the stone would have attracted the ash from the fire.  Because of this quality them gems were also known as aschentrekker, or “ash-attracter”, this name was later adjusted as the “electric stone.”

The most common variety of is Schorl, or Black Tourmaline, perhaps as many as 95% of the stones belongs to this group.  The remaining 5% is divided between Elbaite, which comes in every color and is often bicolored, and Dravite, which is mainly brown, yellow and green.  Sometimes the gems have unique names depending on their color.  Indiocolite is blue, while Rubellite is red/pink.  Technically, these are both varieties of Elbaite.  Verdelite is Green Tourmaline, but can be Elbaite or Dravite.  The vast majority of gems that are used for fine jewelry are Elbaites.  These pretty jewels were named in honor of the island of Elba which has been mined for Iron and gemstones for 3000 years.