Physical Properties of Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a well-known semi-precious gemstone that comes in many colors and varieties, and is well regarded by crystal healer and collector alike. Its name comes from the Sinhalese word, “Turmali”. It crystallizes as long, hexagonal striated crystals, looking similar to beryl crystals, sometimes large, but may also be needle like. The colors of tourmaline ranges from colorless, to jet black, encompassing nearly all the colors of the rainbow, and there are even multi-colored tourmalines. It has a good Mohs hardness score of 7 to 7.5, which is similar to quartz.
Tourmaline is a common mineral found in many parts of the world. The main producers right now are Brazil and a number of African countries, although historically, USA and Sri Lanka have produced many fine quality tourmaline specimens. It is commonly found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks.
Tourmaline has relatively strong pyroelectrical and piezoelectric properties when compared to others in the mineral kingdom. Piezoelectric refers to being electrically charged when pressure is applied to the object, while pyroelectric refers to getting electrically charged when temperature changes occur. These attributes make tourmaline a strong natural healer.
Its electric properties were recognized by humans a long time ago. Aborigine shamans in India, Africa, and North America have long used tourmaline in rituals and believe that it heals and protects the owner. When heated in a bonfire, tourmaline attracts ashes to itself and produces a mild electrical charge which naturally amazed ancient people. In particular, the black tourmaline is held in high regard by Native American Indians.
Metaphysical Properties of Tourmaline
The energy of tourmaline is believed to clear, and stimulate the chakra centers of the human body, and some believe that it does not hold any negativity within because of its constantly changing polarity (akin to kyanite). Its energy balances polarities, opposing forces, yin and yang, and redirects congested energies. Tourmaline has been used to balance the left and right brain, or between the left and right side of the body, and to encourage one to look within and believe that the unseen is just as real as the seen.
Well-formed tourmaline crystals are shaped like long wands. These tourmaline wands have more directed energy and are enhanced in terms of their metaphysical aspects. They have a stronger effect in clearing and energizing the chakras, dissolving congested energy, and balancing the physical and etheric bodies.
There are many kinds of tourmaline from many colors with unique properties (differentiated by chemical composition), some of which are:
- Achroite (colorless variety of elbaite)
- Dravite (Brownish to almost black tourmaline)
- Watermelon tourmaline (the colors look like the interior of a watermelon)
- Elbaite (a large family of tourmalines which includes achroite/indicolite/rubellite/watermelon tourmalines)
- Schorl (black tourmaline, most common)
- Rubellite (Reddish-pink variety of elbaite)
- Paraiba (Blue/aquamarine coloration)
- Indicolite (Indigo variety of elbaite)
- Bi-color tourmaline
Tourmaline Healing Properties
In general, tourmaline is good for the digestive system and also the endocrine and lymphatic glands. Other types of tourmaline also have their own unique healing properties corresponding to their colors, which we will elaborate upon in future.
However, special mention perhaps should be made here of one of the most popular tourmaline varieties, the watermelon tourmaline. It’s called “watermelon tourmaline” because it has a green outer rind, colorless middle band, and a pink/red inner core. This tourmaline has both the chakra colors (pink and green), making it a great stone for the heart chakra; it has been used to treat physical heart problems – and emotional problems as well.
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