How to tell if black tourmaline is real?

Tourmalines are gemstones that are a mixture of iron, magnesium, and other metals. However, it comes in different colors such as pink, brown, yellow, red, violet, blue and green. The black tourmaline is the most popular; it is also the cheapest.

The black tourmaline is valuable to many people for physical, spiritual, and emotional use. For instance, some believe it has healing properties or can soak up negative energy. Unfortunately, its popularity makes it susceptible to a high degree of forgery compared to other expensive tourmaline stones. 

This issue of forgery is where this lesson comes in. We are looking at the various methods of telling if you are dealing with a fake or a genuine one.

How to tell if black tourmaline is real?

Some people might be able to tell by a glance or a feeling, but I am sure we are not all have the same ability. To be 100% sure, always seek out the origin report or go to a professional. For those who might not be able to do this for several reasons, here are some do-it-yourself tests to help verify if a black tourmaline is authentic.

1. Physical appearance

2. Scratch test

3. Hardness test

4. Color-changing test

5. Inclusion test

6. Air bubble check

Physical appearance

Though it looks hard and chunky, with many lines on its surface, the black tourmaline is still a beautiful gemstone and is easily identifiable. Here are some of the physical qualities you should note:

  • They project a slight color change when under the light. So hold up the stone, move it about a little bit and observe how it reacts under a light. You should see a subtle color change.
  • Because they are made from liquids over thousands of years, they usually have inclusions visible to the human eye along its body. So look out for that as well.
  • They typically have smooth and rounded edges. If you are holding one, it feels soft on the hands despite its rough appearance.

Related: How To Tell If A Moonstone Is Real?

Scratch test

This test is one of the simplest ways to test out if you have a real black tourmaline. Though more susceptible to scratch than other stones, the tourmaline is also naturally a hard stone known for its durability. The stone scores about 7.5 on the MOH scale. Though not the most durable out there but it is pretty decent.

Here comes the scratch test. Because of its hardness, putting a steel knife or nail to the stone would not be enough to scratch a black tourmaline or any other tourmaline.

Real black tourmaline ring picture

Hardness test

This test seems quite similar to the scratch test, but there is a major difference. While the scratch test measures the ability of a metal to be roughened by steel or harder tools, the hardness test measures its ability to withstand penetration, scratch another metal, or resist permanent deformity. For example, steel might be able to scratch or leave a line across a metal, but cutting it into is a whole other thing.

Because fake black tourmaline is typically made with Glass, to get your hardness test going for the black tourmaline, scratch it against Glass. Glass can not scratch Glass. If your black tourmaline scratches Glass, it’s a safe bet that it is accurate.

Colour changing test

Every tourmaline crystal contains at least two colors within them. Some tourmalines change colors when the light changes, while others give the effect of a cat’s eyes. 

With tourmalines, depending on the amount of light that shines through them, can appear to change color. For instance, the green tourmaline from Tanzania goes from green to red when put under light. It is called the Usambara effect and has been adopted generally for any time tourmalines with one color changes to another color.

To test the originality of your black tourmaline, put it under bright artificial light, and if it is genuine, you will notice the color-changing shades. If it doesn’t change color, it is a good indicator that you have a fake black tourmaline. Another good way is to look at a black tourmaline down the length of it horizontally. It gives you a different shade as well.

Inclusion test

Black tourmalines are developed deep in the earth, where many liquids exist. These liquids are captured on the stone as inclusions or lines inside the stone.

The inclusions appear as thread-like cavities, running parallel to the stone’s length. Sometimes the pattern appears in two phases, and other times it seems like random hair strains twisted or straightened.

The black tourmaline typically has a lot of these fractures and inclusions. If you are going for the inclusion test, check for the lines across the tourmaline. They would appear to be inside the tourmaline and not on the surface.

Air bubble check

The inclusions mentioned earlier sometimes look like air bubbles instead of lines across the black tourmaline. Look out for those as well; they are also pretty good indicators that the stone in your hand is a genuine one.

Benefits of the black tourmaline

Tourmaline can be dynamic in its use or benefits. People use it for spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits. These benefits have no scientific or factual standing, but here are some of them:

  • Protection: Many people believe the black tourmaline wards off negative energy and unwanted phenomena around their homes. Strategically placing them around the property or wearing them daily gives the feeling of protection.
  • Healing: People also believe the black tourmaline induces healing by improving blood flow circulation, reducing muscle pains and general body aches. Emotionally the black tourmaline gets rid of negative energy such as anxiety, fear, or depression. By taking out negative energy and enhancing they believe it gets you in a state of emotional balance.
  • Motivation: According to Forbes, black tourmaline can help to keep you motivated. Lack of motivation usually stems from negative energies like depression or constant tiredness. The black tourmaline shields one from such energies, especially when working with a large group of people who bring along different energies.
  • Detoxification: It is also said to get rid of dangerous toxins and metals from the body.
  • Beautification: The black tourmaline improves the Feng Sui of its environment. People also wear it as a necklace or ring to add a bit of swagger to their personality.
  • Investment/profit: Although the black stone is one of the cheapest of the tourmaline family, it is a decent investment strategy. One carat of the black tourmaline can go anywhere north of $50. Of course, you would have to check out the other logistics of it. Because of its popularity, you can expect a decent profit buying and selling it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the black tourmaline found?

Black tourmaline is mined in countries within Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The stone is majorly found in Brazil, though. Other countries where you can find them are the United States, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Nambia. 

What is the cost of the black tourmaline?

Though the black stone is one of the cheapest in the tourmaline family, you can find a carat for approximately $50. you could get it cheaper or more expensive in different parts of the world. Another tourmaline, such as the green tourmaline, can sell for as high as $10,000.

What zodiac can wear the black tourmaline?

Anyone can wear the black tourmaline, but it is the birthstone for Taurus, Gemini, and Capricorn. It is said Tuesdays and Saturdays are not good days to wear the black tourmaline.

Is the black tourmaline a crystal?

Black tourmaline is gemstone, and gemstone is a type of mineral crystal that is used to make jewelry. So yeah, the black tourmaline is a crystal.


The black tourmaline, also called Scholar, is one of the world’s most popular gemstones or crystals today. People are drawn to it because of its perceived qualities like healing. 

There are fake ones out there, but with the test mentioned earlier, you can always verify if what you have in your hands is the real deal. Still not sure? Please see a professional to help you with that.

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