Where is Black Tourmaline Found?

Black tourmaline, also known as schorl, is a popular gemstone admired for its dark color and metaphysical properties. But where exactly is this mystical stone found in nature? Here is an overview of the major locations around the world where black tourmaline deposits can be found.

Brazil

Brazil is arguably the most significant source of black tourmaline in the world. The Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Bahia, and Paraiba are particularly rich in deposits of this stone. The most famous tourmaline mine in Brazil is the Cruzeiro Mine in Minas Gerais, which produces stones renowned for their deep black color and clarity. Other important mines include the Papamel Mine and Mata Preta Mine.

Black tourmaline was first discovered in Brazil in the 1500s by Spanish explorers. Ever since, Brazil has been the premier provider of schorl to the global market. The majority of tourmaline jewelry contains stones mined from Brazil.

United States

California and Maine are the two main sources of black tourmaline in the United States. Tourmaline was first discovered in California in 1872 in San Diego County. Important tourmaline mines in California include the Stewart Lithia Mine, Himalaya Mine, and the Van Wert Placer District. Maine’s tourmaline deposits occur mainly in Oxford County near the towns of Paris and Rumford. Some of the finest schorl specimens have originated from Maine mines.

Africa

Significant deposits of black tourmaline are found across the African continent. Important sources include Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Namibia. In South Africa, schorl is mined from pegmatite deposits across the country, especially in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The African tourmaline trade was historically associated with indigenous artisanal miners. More recently, large-scale commercial mining has developed.

Afghanistan

For centuries, Afghanistan was a major source of black tourmaline to the Chinese and Indian civilizations. The Hindu Kush mountain range was particularly rich in schorl deposits. Political instability in Afghanistan disrupted tourmaline mining and trading during much of the 20th century. But since the 2000s, Afghan tourmaline production has revived, led by discoveries of fine crystals in Nuristan and Laghman Provinces.

Russia

Russia’s extensive geological resources include significant tourmaline deposits. Major schorl sources include deposits in the Northern Ural mountains and Eastern Siberia. Notable Russian tourmaline mines include the Slyudyanka Mine at Lake Baikal, which produces crystals known for their bluish-black color. Russian tourmaline helped supply the jewelry demands of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

In summary, black tourmaline can be found on most continents but is especially abundant in Brazil, California, Maine, Africa, Afghanistan and Russia. The unique properties of this fascinating gemstone make it popular worldwide, spurring mining activity across the globe.