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What is Tourmaline?

Shashank Nakate
Tourmaline is one of the semi-precious stones found in nature, and used in various industries ranging from jewelry, medicine to cosmetics. Here is more on this.
The silicate mineral called tourmaline is formed of crystals having columnar and prismatic structure. Cross-section of these structures have a triangular shape. The name tourmaline comes from a Sinhalese word, Thuramali. Its crystals can be found in different colors.
Depending on the degree of iron, magnesium, and other elements found in its composition, it attains a variety of shades. It is said that no two tourmaline stones look alike. In the past, these stones found in Sri Lanka were transported in huge quantities to Europe by the Dutch East India Company.
Now, they are also found in other countries like Brazil, USA, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Malawi. It is the only common mineral which has triangular crystals, i.e., crystals with three sides.
The commonly found color in these stones is green. Magnesium-rich stones have different shades of yellow and brown. The stones with high amount of iron are brown, bluish-black or black in color. Stones with lithium as their main component do not possess a specific shade.
These gemstones have different colors like green, red, blue, yellow, pink, etc. Its hardness as measured on the Mohs scale ranges from 7-7.5.

Types of Tourmaline


Gustav Tschermark was the first person to use the term, 'dravite', who was Professor of Mineralogy in the University of Vienna. This stone was named after the river 'Drava' (present day Republic of Slovenia). These stones are rich in magnesium and sodium. The chemical formula for these stones is NaMg3(Al,Mg)6B3Si6O27(OH).


These stones account for 95% of different tourmaline stones. They are found in a variety of shades, including that of black, brownish black, and blue. It is named after a village of the same name in Germany. Today, the name of this village has been changed to Zschorlau. Its chemical formula is: NaFe++3Al6(BO3)3Si6O18(OH)4.


It contains lithium. The scientist Arfwedson found out the presence of lithium in these stones. The extensive chemical analysis of elbaite stones took place on Elba Island, Italy. The chemical formula is Na(Li1.5Al1.5)Al6(BO3)3[Si6O18](OH)3(OH).


There are many uses of this silicate mineral in different fields, such as cosmetic industry, jewelry making, and electrical products. Dryers and hair straighteners are examples of electrical products made using this material. The use of this mineral also results in health benefits and strengthening the immune system.
Black tourmaline stones are known for their insecticidal properties. Electromagnetic properties of this mineral have application in the treatment of arthritis. The crystal-form is used for the purpose of relaxation and to cure sleep disorders.

What is a Tourmaline Hair Dryer?

This type of hair dryer is made from crushed mineral; the tourmaline flat iron is used for the purpose of hair straightening. Its ionic and infrared properties help in attaining a smooth and shiny hair surface. Instead of heating the surface of the hair, the heating emitted from these dryers penetrates the hair shaft itself.