Tourmaline is the call of a huge group of boron silicate minerals that share a commonplace crystal structure and similar physical residences – but range quite in chemical composition. The huge variety of compositions, in conjunction with trace elements and shade facilities, causes tourmaline to arise in extra colours and shade mixtures than some other mineral institution.

Name: The name tourmaline comes from turamali, a namegiven to the early gems from Ceylon.

Crystallography: Rhombohedral; ditrigonal-pyramidal. Crystals usually prismatic, vertically striated. A triangular prism, with three faces, prominent, which with the tendency of the prism faces to be vertically striated and to round into each other gives the crystals a cross section like a spherical triangle. Crystals are commonly terminated by base and low positive and negative rhombohedrons; scalenohedrons may be present. When doubly terminated, crystals usually show different forms at the opposite ends of the vertical axis

Composition: A complex silicate of boron and aluminum, whose composition can be expressed by the general formula WX3B3A13 (AlSi20 9)3- (0,0H,F)4, where W = Na,Ca. X = Al,Fe,,,,Li,Mg.

Diagnostic Features: Recognized usually by the characteristic rounded triangular cross section of the crystals and coal-like fracture of black variety. Distinguished from hornblende by absence of prismatic cleavage.

Tourmaline Occurrence


The maximum marvelous tourmaline crystals are fashioned by means of hydrothermal activity. These crystals form whilst warm waters and vapors deliver the factors had to shape tourmaline into pockets, voids, and fractures, which give an open area for crystal increase. The tourmaline crystals formed in these cavities range in size from tiny millimeter crystals to huge prisms weighing over 100 kilograms. One rich pocket of satisfactory tourmaline crystals can yield mineral specimens and gem materials well worth thousands and thousands of greenbacks. Many mineral creditors and gem hunters have end up rich with the aid of discovering simply this sort of treasure-stuffed cavities.

Species and varieties

Commonly encountered species and varieties:

Schorl species:

Brownish black to black—schorl,
Dravite species: from the Drave district of Carinthia


Dark yellow to brownish black—dravite,
Elbaite species: named after the island of Elba, Italy

Red or pinkish-red—rubellite variety,
Light blue to bluish green—Brazilian indicolite variety (from indigo),
Green—verdelite or Brazilian emerald variety,
Colorless—achroite variety

Tourmaline as an Accessory Mineral

The maximum common prevalence of tourmaline is as an accessory mineral in igneous and metamorphic rocks. It commonly takes place as millimeter-length crystals scattered thru granite, pegmatite, and gneiss. In this mode of prevalence, tourmaline hardly ever makes up a number percentage of the rock’s volume. The kind of tourmaline most usually discovered as an accent mineral is black schorl.

Physical Properties of Tourmaline

Chemical ClassificationBoron silicate
ColorBlack is the most common color. Also occurs in blue, green, yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, brown, and colorless. Single crystals are often zoned.
StreakWhite when softer than the streak plate. Colorless when harder than the streak plate.
DiaphaneityTransparent to translucent to nearly opaque
Mohs Hardness7 to 7.5
Specific Gravity2.8 to 3.3
Diagnostic PropertiesLack of visible cleavage, prismatic crystals with rounded triangular cross-sections that are often striated, vibrant colors, pleochroism.
Chemical Composition(Ca,Na,K,[vacancy]) (Li,Mg,Fe+2,Fe+3,Mn+2,Al,Cr+3,V+3)3(Mg,Al,Fe+3,V+3,Cr+3)6 ((Si,Al,B)6O18) (BO3)3(OH,O)3 (OH,F,O)
Crystal SystemHexagonal
UsesA popular gemstone and mineral specimen

Tourmaline Chemistry

Tourmaline is a complex boron silicate mineral with a generalized chemical composition of:


Letters in the formula above represent positions in the atomic structure of tourmaline that can be occupied by ions listed below.

  • X = Ca, Na, K, [] ([] = vacancy)
  • Y = Li, Mg, Fe+2, Fe+3, Mn+2, Al, Cr+3, V+3
  • Z = Mg, Al, Fe+3, V+3, Cr+3
  • T = Si, Al, B
  • V = OH, O
  • W = OH, F, O

The complex formula and many substituting ions produce the large number of minerals in the tourmaline group. The International Mineralogical Association has recognized 32 different tourmaline minerals based upon the chemical composition of solid solution series end members. These minerals are listed in the table below.

Mineral Composition
Adachiite CaFe3Al6(Si5AlO18)(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Bosiite NaFe3(Al4Mg2)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Chromium-dravite NaMg3Cr6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Chromo-alumino-povondraite NaCr3(Al4Mg2)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Darrellhenryite NaLiAl2Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Dravite NaMg3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Elbaite Na2(Li3,Al3)Al12Si12O36(BO3)6(OH)6(OH)2
Feruvite CaFe3(MgAl5)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Fluor-buergerite NaFe3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3O3F
Fluor-dravite NaMg3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3F
Fluor-elbaite Na2(Li3,Al3)Al12Si12O36(BO3)6(OH)6F2
Fluor-liddicoatite Ca(Li2Al)Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3F
Fluor-schorl NaFe3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3F
Fluor-tsilaisite NaMn3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3F
Fluor-uvite CaMg3(Al5Mg)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3F
Foitite [](Fe2Al)Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Lucchesiite Ca(Fe)3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Luinaite-(OH) (Na,[])(Fe,Mg)3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Magnesio-foitite [](Mg2Al)Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Maruyamaite K(MgAl2)(Al5Mg)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Olenite NaAl3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3O3OH
Oxy-chromium-dravite NaCr3(Mg2Cr4)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Oxy-dravite Na(Al2Mg)(Al5Mg)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Oxy-schorl Na(Fe2Al)Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Oxy-vanadium-dravite NaV3(V4Mg2)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Povondraite NaFe3(Fe4Mg2)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Rossmanite [](LiAl2)Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Schorl NaFe3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Tsilaisite NaMn3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Uvite CaMg3(Al5Mg)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH
Vanadio-oxy-chromium-dravite NaV3(Cr4Mg2)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O
Vanadio-oxy-dravite NaV3(Al4Mg2)Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O

Optical Properties

FormulaNa(Mg,Fe,Mn,Li,Al)3Al6 [Si6 O18](BO3 )3(O,OH,F)4
Crystal SystemHexagonal (trigonal), 3m
Crystal HabitStriated hexagonal prisms
Cleavage{110} and {101}
Color/PleochroismBlue, red, green, yellow, black, brown. (Schorl, the most common tourmaline, is black)
Optic SignUniaxial (-)
Refractive Indices
omega =
epsilon =
Max Birefringence0.017-0.035
ExtinctionLongitudial sections show parallel extinction and are length fast.
Unit Cella = 15.8-16.0 Å
c = 7.1-7.25 Å
Z = 3
Physical Properties 
H = 7
G = 2.90-3.22
Distinguishing Features– In hand sample: columnar crystals with rounded triangular cross sections.
– Concentric color zoning maybe observed in end sections.
– Deep color may mask interference colors.
– In plane polarized light, tourmaline crystal experiences maximum absorption perpendicular to polarizer (and c-axis). This means that they appear darkest when the long grain is oriented perpendicular to the polarizer. (Strongly Dichroic).
OccurrenceTourmaline is a characteristic mineral in granitic pegmatites. It is an accessory mineral in granite, granodiorite, and related felsic rocks. Tourmaline is also a common mineral in schist, gneiss, quartzite, and phyllite. Also found in metasomatically altered limestone and dolomite in contact metamorphic zones.
ReferencesMinerals in Thin Section (2000) Perkins, Dexter and Henke, Kevin. Introduction to Opticial Mineralogy (1991) Nesse, William. Introduction to Mineralogy (2000) Nesse, William.
EditorsData sources: Emma Anderson (’05), Clementine Hamelin (’13), Olivia Leadbetter (’19).


  • Tourmaline is a shamanic stone, imparting safety at some stage in ritual work. It can be used for scrying, and become traditionally used to factor out a cause of trouble or an offender, and to signify an amazing direction wherein to transport. To use Black Tourmaline in purification and safety rituals, create a ring of eight small herbal tumblestones for a protection circle or region upon an altar.
  • Black Tourmaline is an first-rate grounding crystal for meditation and recuperation, and a small variety of Black Tourmalines are double-terminated, ideal for frame layouts. The linear glide of energies is greater equally in both instructions alongside the crystalline shape.
  • Black Tourmaline soothes panic attacks, in particular those resulting from darkish or limited areas, or in places wherein the atmosphere is frightening. It additionally allows control fears of doctors or dentists.
  • Wear this crystal for safety against moaners, whiners, complaining buddies or emotional vampires who burden you with their troubles however do nothing to enhance their situations.
    In the place of work, maintain Black Tourmaline for a couple of minutes whilst you need to awaken your thoughts or when you want complete concentration. It gives an incredible guard towards environmental pollution, electromagnetic smog, and radiation related to cell phones, computers, and different electronic gadget.
  • It is a professional aid stone for miners and smartphone workers.
  • In industry, Tourmalines are noticeably valued as electrical tuning circuits for undertaking television and radio frequencies. They are used for his or her durability given that high frequencies can be handed via them with out shattering, as many crystals do. [Mella, 110]
    Tourmaline strengthens the experience of smell, and in that respect, can also enhance the notion of pheromones which produces an aphrodisiac effect.


  • Dana, J. D. (1864). Manual of Mineralogy… Wiley.
  • (2019): Mineral information, data and localities.. [online] Available at: [Accessed. 2019].
  • (2019). Geosciences | Smith College. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].
  • Wikipedia contributors. (2019, April 26). Tourmaline. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:52, July 5, 2019, from
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