Tourmaline gemstones are among the most beautiful stones the world over. Their sheer beauty is amplified by their healing properties which adds a decadent note to health and beauty.

The origin, characteristics, and healing properties of gemstones is truly fascinating. Most gemstones are limited to specific colours with an array of hues but tourmaline exceeds these expectations in every way.

Tourmaline has by far the widest colour range of all gem species and has shades of literally every hue imaginable. Gemologist’s use a tourmaline’s properties and chemical composition to define its species. Prominent tourmaline species include elbaite, liddicoatite, dravite, uvite, and schorl.

Predominantly used in jewellery, tourmaline plays a leading role in spiritual practices as well as in natural alternative healing practices.

Let’s delve into the wonderful world of tourmaline.


What is Tourmaline
A Glimpse into History
Tourmaline Elements
Popular Tourmaline Gemstones
Healing With Tourmaline


What is Tourmaline

For centuries, tourmaline has been misidentified as a different gem species based on its colouring such as ruby, sapphire, emerald and so on. This went on unabated until the use of modern mineralogy was able to accurately classify gemstones.

Tourmaline is essentially a mineral supergroup consisting of three groups, numerous subgroups, and over thirty different species. The list of tourmaline species continues to grow with every new discovery. 

A common trait of tourmaline species is its trigonal (hexagonal) crystal structure created with different chemical formulas.

Tourmaline is one of the most popular gemstones used in metaphysical crystal healing. Each colour having its own healing properties. The gemstones are usually placed on specific parts of the body or worn as jewellery to absorb negative energy.

The healing properties of tourmalines can be linked to the fact that they are piezoelectric as well as pyroelectric. They generate electricity when placed under pressure and when heated, respectively. They also generate an electrostatic charge when rubbed.

A Glimpse into History

In the 1500s, a Spanish conquistador in Brazil washed the dirt from a green tourmaline crystal and confused the vibrant gem with emerald. This was only corrected in the 1800s when scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species. 

The confusion over the gem’s identity is well documented in its name, Tourmaline stems from “toramalli” meaning “mixed gems” in Sinhalese, a language of Sri Lanka. This term was used by Dutch merchants for the multicoloured pebbles that miners found in the gem gravels of Sri Lanka.

Tourmaline is found in many places around the world. Species found in Africa, Asia, and Brazil produce some of the most unique varieties.

Tourmaline Elements

The chemical composition of tourmalines directly influences its physical properties and is ultimately responsible for its colour. Tourmalines make up a group of closely related mineral species with the same crystal structure yet have different chemical and physical properties. 

They share the elements silicon, aluminium, and boron, but contain a complex mixture of other elements such as sodium, lithium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, chromium, vanadium, fluorine, and sometimes copper.

Most tourmalines are elbaites, which are rich in sodium, lithium, aluminium, and may include copper which is rare. They occur in granite-containing pegmatites, which are rare igneous rocks. 

Elbaites offer the widest range of gem-quality tourmaline colours that include green, blue, yellow, pink to red, opaque, or zoned with a combination of colours.

Some pegmatites are rich in exotic elements, essential for the formation of specific gem minerals. Pegmatite crystals can be up to 1 meter (about 3 feet) in length. There could be different gem pockets within one pegmatite body that can hold tourmaline crystals of different colours.  Mines around the world can produce a variety of gem colours.

Liddicoatite is rich in calcium, lithium, and aluminium. It originates in granite-containing pegmatites and offers a diverse array of colours. 

Uvite is rich in calcium, magnesium, and aluminium. Dravite is rich in sodium, magnesium, and aluminium. Both form in limestone that has been altered by heat and pressure, resulting in marble that contains minerals like tourmaline.

The bright yellow gems some dealers call “savannah” tourmalines are also mixtures of dravite and uvite which are coloured by iron.

Schorl is typically black, and rich in iron and forms in a wide variety of rock types. It’s rarely used as a gem, although it has been featured in mourning jewellery.

It’s quite easy to understand why tourmaline has been misidentified for centuries. The trade names of some tourmaline species relate to the colour or gem that they were originally confused with. Here are a few examples:

  • Rubellite: Named after the ruby for its colour which includes pink, red, purplish-red, orange-red, or brownish-red tourmaline. There is an ongoing dispute whether the name rubellite should apply to pink tourmaline.
  • Indicolite: Derived from the colour Indigo which is a is dark violet-blue, blue, or greenish blue tourmaline.

Other popular tourmaline species are:

  • Paraíba. Derived from the state of Paraíba, Brazil and is an intense violet-blue, green-blue, or blue tourmaline.
  • Chrome tourmaline: This is an is intense green colour that gets its colour from vanadium, the same element that gives Brazilian and African emeralds their colour.
  • Watermelon tourmaline: As the name suggests, it is pink in the centre and green around the outside. Watermelon tourmaline crystals are typically cut in slices to extenuate this unique arrangement.
  • Parti-colored tourmaline: This tourmaline displays more than one colour. The green and pink combination is one of the more desirable combinations but there are many combinations to choose from.

Some tourmaline crystals have a chatoyancy or cat’s-eye effect. These are are most often green, blue, or pink, with a more diffused eye than the eye in fine cat’s-eye chrysoberyl. In tourmaline, this results from numerous thin, tube-like inclusions that form naturally during the gem’s growth.

Tourmaline colours have many different causes that result in their amazing spectrum of colours. 

  • Traces of iron, and possibly titanium, induce green and blue colours. 
  • Manganese produces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows. 
  • Pink and yellow elbaites might owe their hues to colour centres caused by radiation, which can either be natural or laboratory-induced. 
  • Pure blue, red, orange, yellow, and purple stones are rare.
  • Color-change tourmalines are also exceptionally rare. Neon-blue paraíba tourmalines, raspberry-red rubellites, and emerald-green chrome tourmalines are especially sought after.

Healing With Tourmaline

Black Tourmaline is also known as Schorl and is frequently used in spiritual and alternative healing practices.  Schorl is considered one of the most powerful crystals for grounding wisdom and protection from negativity.  It creates a protective energetic shield around you wherever you are. 

Schorl is also used to deflect radiation energy and enhance physical wellbeing. It is believed to provide increased physical vitality, emotional stability, and intellectual acuity. It can be used to purify and transform dense energy into a lighter vibration.

Tourmaline promotes a better understanding of oneself and others.  It generates self-confidence, diminishes fear, attracts inspiration, compassion, tolerance, and prosperity.  It also helps treat paranoia, overcomes dyslexia, improves hand-eye coordination, and releases tension.

Brown Tourmaline is used to clear and protect the aura. It clears and opens the earth chakra, located about 12 to 18 inches below the soles of the feet. It is not within the actual physical body but is part of the etheric body, grounding you to the earth. It is also used in healing dysfunctional family relationships, and helps the user feel comfortable in social groups. Brown tourmaline can be used to treat intestinal disorders and skin issues.

Colourless Tourmaline (Anchorite) brings a versatile energy and its purpose is to help you focus on yourself, your personal growth, and self-acceptance. It also acts as a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds.

Blue Tourmaline (Indicolite) has a soothing energy that calms nervousness and anxiety. Green tourmaline stimulates compassion, nurturing and understanding. It aligns heart health with physical health and promotes healing aches or injuries in your body.

Metaphysical Properties

Tourmaline is a metaphysical gem that helps to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world around you. Tourmaline can help with: 

  • Inspiration
  • Creativity and focus
  • Compassion 
  • Tolerance
  • Overcome fear
  • Restores balance to the mind body spirit connection. 

Tourmaline is used by crystal healers as a detoxifying stone that protects against radiation from computers and other electrical sources.

Tourmaline helps to bring objectivity into your thoughts and actions. This allows for unfiltered introspection, making you aware of your negative patterns so you can change or reverse them. This will allow you to let go of any negative thoughts and emotions. In turn you will free up mental and emotional space within yourself for more positive experiences.

Tourmaline Emotional Healing Energy

Tourmaline is a wonderful healing crystal that is a mist-have in every collection. 

Green or pink crystals help you deal with the stresses of life as well as help you become more positive and forgiving. They facilitates the release of negative energy.

Pink Tourmaline helps to alleviate depression and trauma. It will give you the will and energy to move forward.  


The sheer colour brilliance and range of hues and patterns makes tourmaline a gem to match all gems.  Emperors, queens, and princesses throughout history have placed great distinction on their prized tourmaline gems for this very reason.

Spiritual healers have used tourmaline crystals for centuries as a gateway to purifying the spirit and becoming enlightened through their practices. Contemporary crystal healing in conjunction with meditation as an alternative therapy helps many people deal with mental health issues.

There is a hidden energy in tourmaline that resonates with our individual energy fields that if used correctly can promote healing and harmony.

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