How to Tell If Black Tourmaline Is Real: It’s Not As Simple As You Think

Here’s the thing. Identifying a black tourmaline isn’t as simple as identifying gold or diamonds. There’s a lot more to it.

First, you must understand how the gemstone appears in terms of color and shape. Next, you need to check how it feels in your hand. Furthermore, there are several more factors to consider that can provide important clues about whether or not the gem is authentic or fake.

This post will cover all those factors in detail. We will also talk about what black tourmaline is, why it is valuable, at what price it’s sold in the market, and more. So without any further ado, let’s get started!

How to Identify Black Tourmaline

The simplest and most reliable way of identifying black tourmaline is by visiting a gemologist — a professional who has spent years studying all sorts of gems around the world.

That being said, if you want to identify your gem at home, here’s how you can find out whether it’s black tourmaline or something else. Simply check its:

  • Shape: Black tourmaline typically has a six-sided prismatic shape that tapers at one end. If your gemstone doesn’t have this shape, then it’s probably not a genuine tourmaline.
  • Feel: Genuine black tourmalines are usually quite heavy for their size. They also have a slightly rough surface with an uneven finish. So if your gemstone feels light and smooth to the touch, it’s probably not tourmaline.
  • Color: Black tourmaline is, well, black. That being said, it often also has shades of blue, yellow, or even pink. But, if your gem isn’t overall dark black, it’s probably not tourmaline.
  • Reaction under light: There’s a simple test to find out if the tourmaline you’ve found is natural or synthetic. Simply place it under artificial light and see if it changes color. If it doesn’t, then it’s a synthetic piece.

What Is Black Tourmaline?

In a nutshell, black tourmaline is a tourmaline with black color. But even though it appears black, it has shades of dark green, bluish-green, and even purple.

In nature, it is found as either massive or thin hexagonal plates that flake off easily. The mineral itself doesn’t have any visible cleavage so you won’t see something similar to how mica forms sheets that break apart into flakes. Furthermore, it also has no crystal structure. Meaning that there are no clear boundaries between different parts inside its chemical composition, which is why the entire stone has the exact same look.

How Is Black Tourmaline Created?

Tourmaline is found in different colors because it’s created when boron and aluminum mix with silica-rich rocks. The resulting mineral can then be pink, green, blue, red, or any other color you can think of.

The particular shade of black that we see in black tourmaline is the result of high levels of iron present in the gemstone. And while almost all tourmalines contain some iron, the concentration will determine how dark or light a stone appears.

Where Is Black Tourmaline Found?

This is where it gets really interesting.

Black tourmaline is one of the rare gemstones that’s found in almost all parts of the world. Nigeria, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka — you name it and it’s there! The only continent that doesn’t have any natural deposits of this gemstone is Europe.

That being said, if you’re looking for the highest quality black tourmaline, you will have to search Brazil or Mozambique. 

What Do People Use Black Tourmaline for?

Now that we know a little more about this fascinating gemstone, let’s move on to how it is used.

Although black tourmaline has some practical uses, it is commonly used as a protective stone. It is believed to be a healing stone that deflects negative energy and protects the wearer from harm.

It is often recommended for people who are dealing with stress or anxiety as it helps to calm the mind and promote relaxation. Some people even believe that simply holding a piece of black tourmaline for a moment can help ease these symptoms. Furthermore, it is also said to be helpful for people who have trouble sleeping as it encourages deep and restful slumber.

How Valuable Is Black Tourmaline?

The price of black tourmaline will vary depending on where you live. For instance, in the United States, it’s known to be quite affordable and can range from $20-$100 per carat. But in Africa, it costs a lot more. Add in the lower income of African residents and you can see that this gem is much more affordable for people living in the United States.

Meaning that the value of this stone highly depends on how rare it is where you live. So while some people might see no problem paying several thousand dollars for a piece of black tourmaline, others would consider such prices ridiculous.

Where Can You Sell Black Tourmaline?

Selling black tourmaline is a piece of cake. There are numerous sites where you can find lots of buyers who are willing to pay a fair price. Selling it on an online auction site like eBay or Craigslist is a good start. If you go down that road, remember to take excellent photographs and include all necessary data in your ad.

Furthermore, there are various websites that specialize in the selling of gemstones like black tourmaline. You should check out GemPundit, Pampillonia, and GemRocketOptions.

Besides online sites and platforms, you also have the option to go to a local jewelry store. However, keep in mind that local jewelers live to haggle. Most jewelers try to lowball customers in the hopes of snaring someone who isn’t aware of the real value of their stone. So, before you visit a jeweler, make sure to ask around about the worth of your stone from people you trust.

Final Thoughts

Although it’s not easy to identify black tourmaline at home, it is possible if you follow the instructions shared in this post.

After following the instructions shared in this post, if you’re still unsure whether the gem you’ve found is black tourmaline or something else, you should visit a gemologist.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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