Physical Properties of Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a complex crystalline boron silicate structure. It is compounded with elements such as iron, aluminium, magnesium, sodium, lithium or potassium to produce a variety of different colours and structures.
The most common variety is known as schorl which is black in colour and contains higher levels of sodium and iron. It accounts for 95% or the tourmaline found in nature.
Tourmaline tends to be brittle in nature and has a hardness rating of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale.
History and legends of Tourmaline
It is believed the name tourmaline originally comes from the Sinhalese word ‘thoramalli’ which was a word applied by the native Sri Lankan people to a local group of gemstones (1).
The word schorl, for black tourmaline, comes from the name of a small town in Germany which used to mine black tourmaline along with tin prior to the year 1400.
Tourmaline is found in large quantities chiefly in Brazil and Africa while many of the higher gemstone quality tourmaline comes from Sri Lanka.
The Dutch East India company originally brought great quantities into Europe prior to 1700 to satisfy a curiosity for exotic gemstones.
Tourmaline was sometimes called the Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) magnetic due to its electrical/ magnetic properties. Dutch traders in the 1700’s used to use its magnetic properties to draw ash from their pipes.
One Egyptian legends speaks of how tourmaline made its journey from the centre of the earth and passed over a rainbow absorbing all the colours as it passed through.
A statue of Alexander the great dating to the 2nd or 3rd century BC has been found carved completely of tourmaline. In this culture tourmaline was believed to be a teller stone pointing in the direction of who or what was causing the trouble (2).
Tourmaline is distinguished by its ability to become electrically charged by simply heating it or rubbing it. Once charged one end of the crystal becomes positive and the other negative. This allows it to attract or repel small objects like particles of dust or small bit of paper.
The natural philosopher Benjamin Wilson used these electrical properties of tourmaline extensively in his work culminating in his awarding of the Copley medal in the Royal Society in 1760 (3).
Healing and Spiritual Uses of Tourmaline
Black tourmaline is considered a powerful grounding stone. It is believed to provide a strong connection between the human spirit and the earth. In so doing it is thought to create a sense of strength and confidence and promote a more objective view of the world.
Students of the Chakras believe it invigorates the base chakra which helps this connection to the earth.
Black tourmaline is believed to be a strong psychic shield, repelling negativity and helping resolve ones own negative thoughts and internal conflicts. For this reason it is considered a shamanic stone used for protection during ritual work.
It is often thought to protect against the influence of people who constantly whinge or moan and create negativity as well as those loosely described as emotional vampires. It is also thought to protect against environmental pollutants and electric magnetic radiation.
In crystal healing these properties are applied to benefit people prone to panic particularly in confined spaces and those who work in very negative work environments. It is also thought to benefit the immune system, heart, adrenal glands and bowels.
Tourmaline Crystal Rollers, Gua Sha and Tourmaline Crystal Combs
As tourmaline is a a hard brittle crystal many companies chemically treat the crystals to make carving easier and reduce costs. This alters the chemistry of the crystals and is not suitable for those who are hoping to gain the spiritual or healing properties associated with the crystal.
Some tourmaline is also subject to heat treatment to lighten the colours of the crystal. This can again alter the properties of the crystal and should be avoided.
White Lotus use only the pure black tourmaline in its crystal beauty tools. All tourmaline crystals are individually selected and hand carved. No chemical or heat treatment is ever applied to White Lotus crystal beauty tools and only A grade crystal is used in all products.
All White Lotus crystal products carry a life time guarantee with normal use.
When selecting your crystal beauty product choose wisely and choose one you are attracted to. The crystals have been a long time in the making and with proper care will last you a life time.
Learn More About Tourmaline Crystal Beauty Products
1. Oxford English Dictionary 2nd edition.
2. Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian, The Book of Stones (Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2007)
3. Sidney, L. ed. (1900). Wilson Benjamin, Dictionary of National Biography 62. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 82–84.