Tourmaline Stone Types: Green, Pink, Bi-Colored, and Others

Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Interested in learning about the different types of tourmaline stones? 

You're in the right place. In this Learning Guide, I'll go over all the varieties of this gorgeous stone and answer questions like: 

tourmaline stone types
  • Where is black tourmaline found?
  • Are bi-colored tourmaline stones real?
  • What is the most expensive tourmaline type?

What is Tourmaline?

Tourmaline is a gem species that is formed in igneous and metamorphic rocks. They are a popular type of gemstones and is an idiochromatic gem. This means that it comes as colorless and may be colored by different impurities entering the crystal structure.

Tourmalines are a popular and more affordable alternative to other popular gemstones like emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Though some tourmalines exceed hundreds per carat, many beautiful ones come at the same price of diamonds.

Color Zoning in Tourmaline (Credit: Orbital Joe)

The durability of a tourmaline gemstone is considered high as they have no gemstone cleavage and a hardness level of 7. That's doesn't mean they can't scratch, but should stay beautiful for years and years if given the proper care.

Tourmalines exhibit a unique gemstone effect called pleochroism. This means it can polarize light, making a bi-colored stone like watermelon tourmaline or other color combinations of tourmaline.

Common Tourmaline Stone Types

There are many different kinds of tourmaline stones. Some tourmaline crystals are more rare than others. In this section, we'll talk about the physical properties such as durability and origins, as well as ancient lore and metaphysical uses for the most common kinds of tourmaline gemstones.

The major tourmaline species that are considered gem quality tourmaline colors are:

  • Black tourmalines
  • Green tourmalines
  • Blue tourmalines
  • Pink tourmalines

"Tumbled Tourmalines" (Credit: jaja_1985)

Black Tourmaline

Black tourmaline gems are very popular among the metaphysical community. Though black tourmaline crystals are considered gem-quality, you won't find faceted pieces in most fine jewelry stores.

Also known under the name "Schorl Tourmaline" black tourmalines are the most common colored tourmaline crystal available. It doesn't command high prices or value in jewelry, but can be priced high for collector's specimens.

Small piece of black tourmaline crystal (Credit: Jan Helebrant)

Physical Properties

A black tourmaline crystal obtains its shade due to the iron content in the crystal structure. The result of the iron in colorless tourmalines can produce bluish-black to black colored tourmaline stones.

Not only does it occur as its own gemstone, but black tourmaline is often found as inclusions in other crystals. Tourmalinated quartz is a popular mineral specimens for collectors, similar to rutilated quartz.

Black tourmaline jewelry has the same durability as all other colored tourmaline crystals. It is an excellent affordable black gemstone that can be an affordable alternative to black diamonds.

Black tourmaline crystals are common and can be found in many places of the world including:

  • United States
  • Brazil
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Africa (including Namibia and Madagascar)
  • Russia
  • India
  • Sri Lanka

There are many different places where this variety of tourmaline can be found, but these are the most notable gem deposits.

Credit: Jan Helebrant 

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

A black tourmaline crystal is a revered black stone in the crystal healing community. It is believed to carry many uses for mental health as well as physical ailments. Some of the healing properties black tourmalines are known for are:

  • Immune system improvement
  • Reducing electromagnetic radiation
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Clearing/Repelling negative energies
  • Pain relief
  • Chakra alignment
  • Protection
  • Grounding

Faceted Black Tourmaline (Credit: the justified sinner)

Green Tourmaline

Green tourmaline gemstones are popular green gemstones that also go by the name of verdilite. as a more affordable alternative to emeralds.

Physical Properties

Green tourmaline's colors range from light green to a rich dark green color. The dark green tourmaline gems are prized and valued higher as emerald alternatives. The green shades are a result of impurities of chromium, vanadium, and iron in the tourmaline crystal structure.

The combination of these impurities determine the shade of green the tourmaline will be. When there's more of one impurity than another, the result can be green tourmaline with secondary shades of yellow or blue.

Emerald Green Tourmaline from Brilliant Earth

Yellow-Green Tourmaline from Brilliant Earth

When polished, tourmaline has a vitreous luster, meaning it will appear very polished and shiny when used in jewelry. Green tourmalines range from opaque to transparent gems, with transparent gems being the best quality for fine jewelry.

Green tourmaline stones can be found in:

  • Brazil
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Madagascar
  • Mozambique
  • Russia

Green Tourmaline Crystals (Credit: rockman836)

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

In the metaphysical world, green tourmaline takes on the same benefits as other tourmalines. But like many green stones, green tourmalines are believed to be especially helpful for both your physical and mental health.

Some of the healing properties green tourmaline is believed to have include:

  • Bring calming aura to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Lung, heart, and immune health
  • Removing unhealthy toxins from the body
  • Promote positive energy flow
  • Promote self confidence and self esteem
  • Motivation stone
  • Amplifies creativity (Particularly for artists and writers)

Credit: someHerrings

Blue Tourmaline

Blue tourmaline is common, but prized colored tourmaline. Blue tourmalines can be found in some fine jewelry stores as they are some of the most expensive tourmalines in the jewelry industry. While commonly known and sought after, it is a more rare form of gem tourmalines. Blue tourmalines may also go under the name of indicolite tourmaline. Though indicolite and blue tourmalines are terms used interchangeably, some gem experts believe differently.

Gemologists may refer to blue tourmalines with a deep blue saturation similar to that of blue sapphire as indicolite. Light blue shades and blue tourmalines with secondary colors don't fall under the name indicolite.

Physical Properties

The blue shade is caused by trace amounts of copper and iron in the tourmaline crystal structure. The intensity and secondary shades of blue can depend on the amount of each impurity present in the tourmaline crystal. Secondary colors of blue tourmaline can be greenish blue, dark violetish blue, or gray-blue.

Greenish blue tourmaline from Brilliant Earth

Blue Tourmaline (Credit: Robert M. Lavinsky)

The blue color of tourmaline can also vary based on the cut of the stone. Blue tourmalines are typically fancy cut or custom cut in order to enhance the intensity of the blue color in the stone.

Different localities produce various shades of blue tourmaline. Grayish blue colors are typically found in middle eastern countries while vivid blue color tourmalines usually originate from Africa.

Blue tourmalines can be found in:

  • Brazil
  • Madagascar
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Namibia
  • Mozambique

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

Blue tourmaline is more popular and valuable of tourmaline colors, so you don't hear of too many people owning one for its healing properties. But just because it isn't as well-known, doesn't mean it doesn't have metaphysical uses.

Blue tourmaline healing effects are commonly associated with:

  • Calming and soothing emotions
  • Helping with communication
  • Boosting intuition
  • Promoting creativity
  • Strengthening the immune system

Credit: Orbital Joe 

Pink Tourmaline

Pink tourmaline is a highly popular variety of tourmaline used in jewelry. Often chosen for October birthstone jewelry, pink colored tourmaline can also go by the name of rubellite. Pink tourmalines can range in price and value, depending on the pink hue and intensities.

Pink Tourmalines from Brilliant Earth

Physical Properties

The pink color in tourmaline is caused by the presence of manganese in the crystal structure. The pink shades vary from light pink stones to red tourmaline colors. Its secondary colors may be pinkish purple, pinkish brown, purplish red, and brownish red tourmaline colors.

Pink tourmaline can be found in

  • Brazil
  • Afghanistan
  • United States
  • Madagascar
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

Pink tourmalines are usually chosen for jewelry rather than for metaphysical benefits too. However, these pieces carry their own properties, just like other tourmaline colors. Alongside pink stones like rose quartz, pink tourmaline is known for its connection to love and the heart chakra.

Bi-Colored Pink Tourmaline from Brilliant Earth

Pink tourmaline healing properties are similar to other varieties of tourmaline, but are believed to have additional properties of:

  • Healing past trauma
  • Self acceptance
  • Enhances compassion and emotional understanding
  • Promote peace and Harmony
  • Heart and circulatory issues
  • Immune system
  • Promotes and enhances human connection

Brown Tourmaline

Brown tourmalines aren't too popular even among those searching for brown gemstones. Brown is a rarer color of tourmaline, but isn't costly due to demand.

Brown tourmaline is often called dravite tourmaline. It is an affordable alternative to brown diamonds.

Physical Properties

Brown dravite tourmaline ranges from light brown to dark brown colors. The brown shades are caused iron and manganese content in the crystal lattice. The concentration of each of these elements contribute to the various brown tones and hues.

Secondary colors of brown tourmaline of brownish yellow, brownish green, and brownish red colors. Brown tourmalines with lighter tones and secondary shades of yellow or green stones may be called champagne tourmalines. Brownish red tourmalines aren't always called brown tourmaline and can also be referred to as rubellite tourmaline (red tourmaline).

Brown tourmalines are usually found in:

  • Brazil
  • Madagascar
  • Nigeria
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • USA

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

Though not often used for crystal healing, brown tourmaline's healing properties emulate the rest of the tourmaline family. They are used for:

  • Grounding
  • Physical healing
  • Immune support
  • Dispelling negative energies
  • Elevating spiritual self

Rare types of Tourmaline

There are certain varieties in the tourmaline group that are considered more prized and costly that do not occur in large quantities or high quality. Let's learn about them.

Watermelon Tourmaline

Bi-colored pink and green tourmalines are called watermelon tourmaline in the jewelry industry. Natural watermelon tourmaline can be expensive, especially if there's a distinct separation of colors.

Unheated Watermelon Tourmalines from Brilliant Earth

However, when buying best quality watermelon tourmaline, you'll want to make sure it comes with a gemstone report. Watermelon tourmalines are able to be lab-created and often with near perfect color separations. 

A natural watermelon tourmaline with distinct separate color zones is rare and expensive. Bi-colored tourmalines with defined separations are expensive. Lab created ones are not and don't hold the same value, but they do have the same crystal structure as natural ones.

Physical Properties

A watermelon tourmaline normally has a pink core with alternating bands of green and pink. Just as with their solid varieties, the elements of manganese, chromium, and iron can contribute to its unique color arrangement.

Rough Watermelon Tourmaline (Credit: Judy Gallagher)

The cut quality of faceted watermelon tourmaline is especially important to the value and cost of the stone. This factor can enhance the individual colors in the stone.

Watermelon tourmaline can be found in:

  • Brazil
  • Madagascar
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • United States

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

As for healing properties of watermelon tourmaline, the bi-colored stone takes on the same uses for pink and green tourmaline stones. Additionally, watermelon tourmaline is believed to help with

  • Opening third eye chakra
  • Healthy digestion
  • Aids skin conditions
  • Promote self-love
  • Facilitate communication with spirit guides
  • Dispel negative thought patterns

Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba tourmaline is the most valued and sought after tourmaline varieties in the world. The electric greenish blue colored tourmaline received its name from the first place it was discovered: Paraiba, Brazil.

rough Paraiba Tourmaline (Credit: Robert M. Lavinsky)

High quality paraiba tourmaline is considered one of the most expensive gemstones in the world due to their limited sources and difficulties with mining. A 1 carat paraiba tourmaline can range from $5,000-$50,000 per carat, depending on other quality factors. You should always buy paraíba tourmaline with a gemstone report from a reliable grading lab.

Paraiba Tourmaline from Brilliant Earth $20,000 GIA Certified

These rare gemstones can come at a more affordable price when lab created. These have the same physical crystal system as natural paraiba tourmaline, but don't carry the same origin, value, or price. Lab created paraiba tourmaline stones range between a few hundred to a few thousand per carat.

Physical Properties

Paraiba tourmaline gets its intense green and blue shades from high amounts of copper content in the crystal growth. This produces a greenish blue hue that sets it apart from green and blue tourmalines.

Though known for having yellow, green, and bluish secondary colors, the rarest colors of paraiba tourmaline exude a strong violetish secondary hue. Few people have ever seen the violet colored paraiba tourmaline.

Violet Paraiba Tourmaline (Credit: DonGuennie, G-Empire The World Of Gems

Though the first paraiba tourmalines came from Paraiba, there are other countries where the same colored tourmalines are found and still given the same name. Paraiba tourmalines can be found in

  • Brazil (Primarily)
  • Nigeria
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Madagascar
  • United States

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

Because of its rarity, price, and overall value, most people using crystals and healing practices don't use paraiba colored tourmalines. But if you happen to get one of these stones, they are said to have all the same properties as other tourmalines. Additionally, they stimulate the Throat chakra too.

Uses for paraiba tourmalines include:

  • Enhancing creativity
  • Emotional stability and balance
  • Increasing intuition and spiritual awareness
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Promoting overall physical health
  • Calming and balancing the nervous system
  • Relieving stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Stimulating the throat and heart chakras

Unusual Types of Tourmaline

Some tourmaline types are more unusual than others. Typically, this raises their value and price. Here's a couple unique types of tourmaline.

Chrome Tourmaline

Chrome tourmaline is a prized green variety of tourmaline. The vivid neon green color of this gemstone makes it an excellent alternative to emerald stones. It's more affordable paraiba tourmaline, but considered to be more expensive and valuable than other tourmaline types.

Dravite Chrome Tourmaline (Credit: Robert M. Lavinsky)

Physical Properties

Chrome tourmaline isn't the same stone as most green tourmalines. In order to be considered chrome tourmaline, the green color must be caused by chromium or vanadium. Chromium and vanadium are the elements that separate emeralds from green beryl stones. The result is emerald colored intense green hues.

A green tourmaline doesn't have to have chromium in order to be green. Only a certain intensity and impurities will turn a green tourmaline into a chrome tourmaline. Chrome tourmaline can come in different tones and may have secondary colors of green blue or greenish brown. Greenish brown hues are often referred to as deep green chromium dravite.

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

Just like the other colored varieties of tourmaline, green tourmaline is more known as a jewelry gem species rather than a healing stone. It has the same properties as other tourmalines but also is believed to have additional uses for:

  • Life transitions
  • Attracting abundance and wealth (No, it probably won’t make you Rich)
  • Providing inner strength

Colors of Chrome Tourmalines (Credit: the justified sinner)

Cat's Eye Tourmaline

Cat's eye tourmaline is the result of a gemstone optical phenomena called chatoyancy. Chatoyancy is the result of light needle-like inclusions that simulate the look of a cat's eye.

When certain gemstones are cut in rounded cabochons, they can be cat's eye stones. Chatoyancy is only shown when cut this way, not faceted.

The cost of tourmalines that exhibit the cat's eye effect varies on how the quality is. High quality cat's eye tourmaline is usually free on inclusions and has a prominent cat's eye. Not every cat's eye stone will reflect perfectly, but will increase in value if so.

Cat's Eye Verdelite Tourmaline (Credit: opacity)

Metaphysical Uses and Benefits

Most of cat's eye tourmaline's uses and properties are the same as other tourmalines. Additionally, cat's eye tourmaline are believed to be:

  • Drawing focus and concentration
  • Reduce restlessness
  • Improve throat conditions
  • Help vision problems
  • Protection against psychic attacks

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Different Tourmalines

As you can see, there are many types of tourmaline. Tourmaline is a beautiful gemstone that comes in many different colors. Though most gem tourmalines are used in fine jewelry, some tourmalines are used for metaphysical healing too.

Value and cost of different tourmalines can vary based on color, carat weight, location, and other quality factors. However, paraiba tourmalines are said to be the most expensive variety of tourmaline. On the other hand, there are many colored tourmalines that are as affordable as a high quality diamond.

If you'd like to create your own tourmaline engagement ring, Brilliant Earth is an excellent place to check out. They have stunning tourmaline gemstones as loose stones and you're able pair it with an 18k gold or platinum ring setting. See your tourmaline in 360˚ video and really get a feel for a beautiful tourmaline ring.

I hope you've enjoyed learning about the different types of tourmaline and that this guide serves as a help when buying your very own tourmaline jewelry!

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