Black Tourmaline Crystal: Meaning & Uses

This crystal is highly active and used to rid oneself of negative energies. There are protective properties in Black Tourmaline and overall the crystal is one of positivity.

Black Tourmaline Crystal: Meaning & Uses Overview


Crystal Colors

Origin

Australia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, United States

Rarity

Abundant

Hardness

7-7.5

Shapes

Cut, In Quartz, Natural, Tumbled/Polished

Lattice

Hexagonal

Chakra

Root

Energy

Absorbs

How to Cleanse

Natural Light, Place on Selenite Slab, Sage Smoke, Sound Healing, Visualization, Brown Rice, Breath

Helps with

Psychic protection, protection against negative energy, grounding, stress release, cleansing negative emotions

Usage Tip

Black tourmaline is great at absorbing negative energy, place it between you and the source of conflict. Can even be used to absorb negative energy from people at work - simply place the crystal in between you and that person.

Crystal Overview


Black Tourmaline’s deep black pigment is rich in history. Strength is found in its vibrations, allowing the crystal to absorb unwanted auroras surrounding and within the self. Both rough and smooth in nature, the naturally occurring crystal is highly powerful. It is one of protection, positivity, and stress relief. Most commonly, Black Tourmaline specializes in transforming negative energies into positive energies.

Primary Uses

Unwanted spiritual forces surrounding your being may be cleansed and restored with Black Tourmaline. It can create lighter vibrations in dense or negative energies.

Root Chakra Properties

The Root Chakra controls kinesthetic movement at the base of your spine and is the source for physical energy. Low motivation and lethargy can be symptoms of an out of line Root Chakra, indicating that energy is depleted and may need to be replenished. This can also have an effect on spiritual energy, as the Root Chakra is key to energizing the being, too.

Black Tourmaline works closely with the Root Chakra.

History & Origin


Black Tourmaline Crystal: Meaning & Uses Map
Black Tourmaline Crystal: Meaning & Uses Map

Due to the wide range of color Tourmaline comes in, Ancient Egyptians believed that the crystal traveled across the rainbow, gathering colors along the way. The name “Tourmaline” evolved in Sri Lanka as a general way of referring to all crystals. This caused ancient stone dealers confusion in determining the difference between crystals all together. At times, Rubies were mistaken for Pink and Red Tourmaline and some ancient peoples built crowns and highly regarded jewelry out of common Tourmaline rather than expensive Rubies in this misconception.

Dating back to the 15th century, Tourmaline was originally referred to as Schorl, named after a small village in Germany where the crystal was first found in a tin mine. It was some time before it was recognized that the Black Tourmaline crystal found in Germany was the same as the Schorl crystal found in Egypt and Sri Lanka. In both cultures, the crystal was widely respected and used for protection (much like today.)

Energy & Healing


Due to its energetic properties, Black Tourmaline is a highly grounding crystal. It is exceptionally effective in tapping into the Earth’s energies and planting one in the midst of positive spiritual exploration away from danger or harm.

In working with Black Tourmaline, energies can be restored and the soul can be purified. It is a good practice to hold Black Tourmaline, carry it in your pocket, or set it near a work space to keep positive energies surrounding you throughout the day. It is reparative for energies that have compromised relationships or created negative cords in your day to day living. Many find that holding Black Tourmaline in each hand with feet planted firmly on the ground releases built up strain and negativity.

Root Charka Drawing

Root Chakra

Setting Boundaries

Black Tourmaline helps set the boundaries needed to protect oneself from not only negative energies, but also from the energies of other’s that may be causing stress or strain in a relationship. (Maybe carry it to your mother in-laws house…?) Shouldering another person’s heavy burden can be toxic for the inner self, and Black Tourmaline helps set these boundaries in protecting oneself from the energy emitted from overwhelming situations in another’s life.

Holding Black Tourmaline in each hand, repeat mantras of protection from outward stress and harmful energy that is not yours to carry.

Black Tourmaline Mantras

  • “I absorb positivity and release harmful energies.”
  • “I ask for protection around my workspace.”
  • “I ask for protection from negative energies surrounding my living space.”

Black Tourmaline on White

Absorbing Electromagnetic Energy

Due to its magneticity, Black Tourmaline is an excellent crystal to keep near workspaces or areas you may be exposed to lighting from screens. As established, this crystal is highly energetic so use of Black Tourmaline near computers can create a restful environment, reenergizing the spirit from harmful radiation and absorptions.

In today’s world, it is useful to wear Black Tourmaline close to the body (via bracelets, pendants) as we are a people constantly exposed to a world of screens and electronics. Energy emitted from electronic devices can clog the spiritual and physical being. Black Tourmaline is an aid in rejuvenating the areas under attack of negative energy from such devices.

Warding Off Psychic Attacks

Psychic attacks, in nature, manifest themselves from negative energy surrounding a person. This can be from strained relationships, conflict, or outward oppression and can affect the mental and physical state of a person. Symptoms such as night terrors, anxiety attacks, extreme fatigue, paranoia, and/or self-doubt can arise during a psychic attack. To stay in a state of positivity, use Black Tourmaline to ward off these attacks through meditation or placement of the crystal in your home.

Creating a Protective Shield

Black Tourmaline in Clear Quartz
Black Tourmaline in Clear Quartz

Black Tourmaline is best utilized in the practice of protection. In a physical sense, it is generally good to keep the crystal near your working and living spaces. There is also wisdom in keeping Black Tourmaline near for protection from toxic outside forces. Quite literally, building a shield around your home or workspace is effective. This is easily done by placing a crystal or two in each corner of the space you want to protect. This creates boundaries to guard the space from attack or negativity. In practice, it is largely best to have Black Tourmaline in places you most occupy. Set intentions for the places you wish to protect and imagine a shield of sorts covering the space.

Ridding the Home of Negative Energy

Tourmaline can be a wonderful tool in cleansing the home or a space in which you operate. Working closely with Tourmaline properties can be beneficial in caring for your spirit and creating safe places to live in. There are a few practical steps in cleansing the home and ridding your space from negative energy.

  1. Allowing sunlight into your space is key for charging Tourmaline and allowing it to be fully utilized in transforming negative energy into positivity. If you wish, cleaning up around your space – dusting, sweeping, picking things up off the floor – can encourage positive energy to stay present and elevated while working with the crystal.
  2. Now, take the Tourmaline in each hand, feet planted firmly on the ground and concentrate on an intention for your home. Speak in simple, positive phrases allowing your body and being to open to positive energy. This also charges the crystal. Wish away negative energies and invite positivity into the space.
  3. Next, cleanse the crystal in central places of your home. This can be done in a jar or small container filled halfway with water and a few tablespoons of sea salt. This step allows the crystal to attract and cleanse itself of negative energy, ridding it from your home. Leaving it to set for a day or two is wise as this is a space that you want to be fully cleared.
  4. To rejuvenate the crystal after the time in the jars has passed, place all of the Tourmaline crystals outside in the sun after rinsing it off its saltwater. In assurance, pour the water from your jars and focus on the negative energy leaving the room as it is leaving the jar. Clean your hands, the crystals and your hands with soap and water, perhaps focusing on mantras of positivity. Breathe into your space and welcome positive energy.

Geology & Science


Tourmaline is the birthstone for the month of October and is the most multicolored mineral, occurring in almost every color including black, blue, brown, red, green, pink, grey, white, yellow, orange, and purple. Not only can tourmaline be found in many colors, some tourmaline stones even contain multiple colors within them.  Others appear to be different colors or shades of the same color when viewed from different angles, an effect known as pleochroism.

Characteristics

The chemical formula of tourmaline can be highly variable, with five different components readily substituted by a number of possible elements. The general chemical formula is A(D3)G6(Si6O18)(BO3)3X3Z, with A, D, G, X, and Z representing substitution sites.

Mexican schorl tourmaline Credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black tourmaline, also called Schorl Tourmaline, has a chemical formula of Na(Fe2+3)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH).  Black tourmaline is by far the most commonly occurring variety, making up over 95% of naturally occurring tourmalines.

While the chemical formulas of the tourmaline group can vary, the physical characteristics, excluding color, are generally fairly uniform. Tourmalines are a 7 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, with a similar hardness to Quartz. This makes them fairly durable to weathering. Tourmalines have a vitreous, meaning glassy, to a slightly duller resinous luster. While some tourmalines can be transparent or translucent, black tourmaline is always opaque. While black (Shorl) tourmaline is primarily black in color, though it can range from blueish black to brownish-black, and even greenish-black.

Crystal Structure

No matter what element or compound fills the substitution sites, the structure for tourmalines is generally the same.  The SiO4tetrahedra form six rings, each with six molecules in a hexagon. Those rings are stacked with three BO3triangles in between, linked by whichever D, G, and X elements are present.

The A and Z element forms a spine down the center of the stacked rings. Because there are so many different substitution sites and different possible elements that can be substituted, the chemical formulas of the varieties of the tourmaline group can vary greatly. The variable composition also means that tourmalines can form from a wider variety of chemical compositions of source materials.

Crystal structure of tourmaline. Source: http://www.umanitoba.ca

Tourmaline has a hexagonal-trigonal crystal system, and often forms in elongated prisms with heavy striations, giving it the appearance of being fibrous. Single prisms typically have a rounded triangular shape, and can either end with a flat surface or a pyramid. Tourmalines can also form aggregates of multiple prisms including column, radiating, and stalactitic shapes.  In some cases, crystals will form as dense masses of elongated needles.

Another interesting characteristic of black tourmaline is that it is both pyroelectric and piezoelectric. Pyroelectric minerals generate an electric charge when they undergo a temperature change, where piezoelectric minerals generate an electric charge when under stress. These characteristics give black tourmaline a number of common industrial applications including conducting electricity, emission of infrared radiation, adsorption of ions, and influence on biological activity.  Uses can range from scientific equipment to hairdryers to automobile components.  Unlike some other common gemstones, the wide industrial applications of tourmaline make mining tourmaline a valuable and steady-demand industry.

Sources

While tourmalines can be found in many different igneous and metamorphic rocks, black shorl tourmaline is found almost exclusively in granite pegmatites.  Granite pegmatites are a kind of igneous rock that have a similar mineral composition of common granites, but which are composed of crystals almost entirely of 1 cm diameter or larger. Pegmatites form when magma cools slowly or cools under high pressure, allowing for a slow rate of crystallization.  Slow crystallization allows the crystal prisms to grow larger and develop more completely.

single stark green fluorite isolated on top of schorl crystals. Credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

In the case of black tourmaline, this can lead to crystal prisms several feet long.  In pegmatites black tourmaline is almost always found as an accessory mineral, meaning while it may form well-developed crystals, it makes up only a small percentage of the rock’s volume.  In the case of black tourmaline, aluminum, iron, sodium, and boron must be present, along with the more common silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen, in the magma in order to form black tourmaline crystals.  These less common elements serve as a limiting factor, only allowing a small amount of black tourmaline to form along with the other minerals found in pegmatites such as quartz, feldspar, and garnet.

The word ‘tourmaline’ comes from Sri Lanka, while ‘Schorl’ comes from Germany, with use dating back as early as the year 1400 describing the black tourmaline being mined near the modern town of Zschorlau, Germany.  As their diverse name origins suggest, black tourmaline can be found in locations throughout the world—some of the most notable include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Namibia, Madagascar, Europe, and North America.   In Brazil, black tourmaline can also be found in the famous Minas Gerais mines, which produce a wide variety of gemstones due to their large pegmatite formations.  In the United States, black tourmaline is most common in Southern California and New England, also in pegmatite formations that yield other varieties of gems.

While the primary sources of tourmalines are mining in igneous and metamorphic rocks, tourmaline can also be mined from sediments in streams, much like panning for gold.  Because tourmaline is relatively hard compared to other minerals, as igneous and metamorphic rocks erode, the softer minerals break down, while the harder mineral crystals remain intact. Tourmaline crystals can be carried some distance from their original location in streams.

Science Contributors

Trevor Nace

PhD Geologist

Trevor Nace is a graduate from Duke University with a PhD in Geology and is a co-founder of A Crystal Pendulum. Each Geology & Science section is thoroughly fact checked by Trevor and his team.

Crystal Review


This black beauty absorbs the negativity surrounding your being and transforms it into positive energy to lighten your load, and more importantly, to lighten your spirit.

  1. Black Tourmaline is important for your collection as it is highly energetic and promotes positivity. Your lifestyle is interrupted with negative energies from all directions, so integrating Black Tourmaline into your home and living space can restore the damaged or compromised parts of your being.
  2. Black Tourmaline is used wisely around screens, as well. It is a crystal that can absorb the highly energetic emissions from screens in the workplace or overuse of screens in everyday life.
  3. It is sensible to use this crystal as a cleansing or protective tool in setting boundaries and shields. There is value in keeping Black Tourmaline close to your being and close to the places your occupy much of your time. This black beauty absorbs the negativity surrounding your being and transforms it into positive energy to lighten your load, and more importantly, to lighten your spirit.



Elizabeth Logback
Elizabeth Logback
Liz is a published writer born in the sunflower fields of Kansas who once dreamed of turning the closed - down Burger King into a crystal shop. She now works with energies and crystals in daily meditation and practice. Liz is currently pursuing a degree in Creative Writing and Literature at Columbia College Chicago.
View all posts by Elizabeth Logback

References

  • Bosi, F., & Lucchesi, S. (2004). Crystal chemistry of the schorl-dravite series. European Journal of Mineralogy16(2), 335-344.
  • Klein, C., & Philpotts, A. R. (2013). Earth materials: introduction to mineralogy and petrology. Cambridge University Press.
  • Lameiras, F. S., Nunes, E. H. M., & Leal, J. M. (2008). Backgrounds for the industrial use of black tourmaline based on its crystal structure characteristics. Ferroelectrics377(1), 107-119.
  • Tourmaline. (n.d.). Mindat.org. Retrieved May 2019, from https://www.mindat.org/min-4003.html
  • The Mineral Schorl. (n.d.) Minerals.net. Retrieved May 2019, from https://www.minerals.net/mineral/schorl.aspx

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