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The Magic of Rocks and Stones

Black Tourmaline


Written and compiled by - Patricia Jean Martin

Even though Tourmaline has been known in the Mediterranean region throughout the ages, it was only in 1703 that it was imported by the Dutch from Sri Lanka to Western and Central Europe.  They gave these new gems a Sinhalese name, Turamali, which is thought to mean "stone with mixed colors".  There are many varieties of Tourmaline — too many to list here — but some are: black (Schorl or Aphrizite), blue (Indicolite), pink and red (Rubellite), brown (Dravite), pink and green ("Watermelon Tourmaline"), green (Verdelite, also known as "Brazilian Emerald"), yellow (Tsilasite, also known as "Peridot of Ceylon"), and the extremely rare colorless (Achroite).  Gem quality Tourmalines are most often members of the Tourmaline group called Elbaite and come from California, Maine, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Myanmar and the Malagasy Republic. 

In its natural state, all the Tourmalines are characterized by parallel ridges (striations) which run the length of the crystal, as are the Black Tourmalines which are the most common in the Tourmaline group.  Tourmaline forms in igneous and metamorphic rocks and veins.  It frequently occurs with Lepidolite, Microcline, and Spodumene in granite pegmatites and others. 

Tourmaline crystals are interesting because they are hemimorphic, having a different shaped top than the bottom of the crystal.  Some crystals of Black Tourmaline can reach a rather large size and can display a great variety of crystal faces.  Another interesting characteristic of this stone is that it is pyroelectric which means that when heated, a positive charge develops at one end and a negative charge at the other.  These charges reverse themselves when the crystal cools.  A piezoelectric charge can be developed if the crystal is compressed (or vibrated) at both ends.  Conversely, if an electrical potential is applied to the crystal, it will vibrate.  Metaphysically speaking, this can help break up an energy blockage, thus bringing new clarity of purpose by helping one integrate and experience the physical and spiritual worlds as one. 

Secondly, Tourmalines are pleochroic.  This means that the crystal will look darker in color when viewed down the long axis of the crystal than when viewed from the side.  This property goes beyond the idea that the crystal is just thicker in that direction.  Even crystals of equal dimensions will demonstrate this trait. 

General Information: 

Chemistry:  NaFe3(Al,Fe)6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)4, Sodium Iron Aluminum Boro-silicate Hydroxide

Class:  Silicates

Subclass:  Cyclosilicates

Group:  Tourmalines

Color:  Black

Luster:  Vitreous to submetallic

Crystal System:  Trigonal

Crystal Habit:  Typically elongated three-sided prisms.  Terminations can be either a simple to complex trigonal pryamid or flat basal face.  Prism faces are usually striated lengthwise.

Cleavage:  Absent, but with basal parting

Fracture:  Uneven to conchoidal

Hardness:  7 - 7.5

Specific Gravity:  3.2+ (slightly heavier than average)

Streak:  White

Other Characteristics:  Piezoelectric

Notable Occurrences:  Brazil; Colorado; Appalachian Mountains; Germany; Cornwall, England; and many others.

Best Field Indicators:  Crystal habit, overall triangular cross-section, striations, color and hardness.

Uses:  Mineral collection specimens, electrical uses and as ornamental stone. 

Myth & Lore: 

Long thin crystals of Black Tourmaline are common as inclusions in Quartz, forming the ornamental stone called "Tourmalinated Quartz".  This stone is unique with its long needle to straw sized, arrow straight, prismatic crystals of pitch black Schorl criss-crossing the clear colorless Quartz.  Alone, Black Tourmaline has long been used by shaman in African, Native American and Aboriginal tribes.  Native Americans used it as a protective stone against negative spells...but when found included in Quartz, it not only breaks the spell, but has been known to energize the "victim" and actually enhance well-being!  Used with Mica, Black Tourmaline is said to be able to return the "spell" or negative energy from whence it came, along with providing a view of the sender of such negativity.  Working like a lightning conductor, Black Tourmaline dispels the negativity and protects against harmful energies such as anger, envy, and greed. 

Recognized as the "Teller" stone, all Tourmalines provide insight during times of difficulty or struggle and can aid in "telling" who or what is causing the problem. 

Black Tourmaline is well-known and most valued for its grounding effects, as are Obsidian, Hematite, Bloodstone and Smoky Quartz.  However, for grounding of spiritual energies Black Tourmaline is the first stone of choice; a gift of nature which enables its human companion to route and receive higher energies from the Crown Chakra down into the Root Chakra. 

Metaphysical Properties of Black Tourmaline (Schorl): 

Astrological Sign(s): Capricorn (although Tourmalines in general have been associated with the sign of Libra).

Element(s): Earth  

Chakra(s): Root.



Purification rituals.  

Deflects and repels negative energy.

Increases physical vitality. 

Relieves stress. 

Clears confusion.

Brings clarity.

Sense of purpose.

*Gives physical aid in treating: Dyslexia. Disorientation. Arthritis. Stress. Strengthens immune system. Stimulates and helps balance adrenal glands. Helps protect against radiation. 

*NOTE: Stone therapy should NOT take the place of medical evaluation and procedures, and should be used merely to enhance one's health and well-being. 

My own thoughts and experiences: 

Black Tourmaline...although an excellent protective, grounding, and Root Chakra balancing stone...seems so much more than that.  It feels as if it places a protective fence around you...a stockade.  And within that "fence" there is a clearing in the landscape of your mind.  And within that clearing there is a complete darkness that empties your mind of all extraneous and chaotic thought.  It mirrors a time when things stood still and there was a void...a void that awaits the first thought; the first song; the first movement; the first spark of light.  And it is with this stone that you can find comfort in the stillness, feel a weightlessness amidst the density!, and experience the jubilance of the first spark of creative inspiration which will flash swiftly to the forefront of your mind.  This will inevitably astound you, as the encompassing void allows for sharp focus on any sudden brilliance emanating from the darkest corner of your inner self.  It is at this point that Black Tourmaline's task is finished, and you will be prompted to move on with renewed vigor and clarity of purpose. 

Many an ingenious thought can come through the protective stillness of Black Tourmaline.  Or you may simply use it whenever you feel the need for merely a shielding guardian "fence". 



"The Crystal Bible" ~ Judy Hall 

"Love Is In the Earth" ~ Melody


© 2006 Patricia J. Martin 



Best wishes and Blessed Be


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In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow /  Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  ElderAlso see:  The Willow Tree (Folk Music)


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Rocks and Stones:


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 Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:   / Apophyllite  / Amber AmethystAquamarineAragoniteAventurineBlack TourmalineBloodstoneCalciteCarnelianCelestiteCitrineChrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / FluoriteGarnet /  Hematite Herkimer DiamondLabradoriteLapis LazuliMalachiteMoonstoneObsidianOpalPyriteQuartz (Rock Crystal)Rose QuartzRubySeleniteSeraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodaliteSunstoneThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble




Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakeningThe Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


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Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



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