Health Disclaimer: Essential Guidance for Crystal Use

Our blog celebrates the age-old tradition of using crystals for emotional and physical support. However, this is not medical advice. Always prioritize and follow the guidance of healthcare professionals for medical conditions. Consider crystal healing as a complementary, not alternative, practice.

Black Obsidian vs Black Tourmaline

If you are interested in healing stones and their properties, you may be wondering about the differences between black obsidian and black tourmaline. The two stones are often mentioned together, but they have some distinct qualities. While black obsidian is valued for its protective and grounding properties, black tourmaline is praised for its ability to transmute negative energy. In this blog post, we will explore the properties and benefits of these two stones, so you can decide which one is better for you.

Table of Contents

Brief Overview of Black Obsidian and Black Tourmaline

Have you ever stood in a gem store, gazing at a polished obsidian bead and then at a chunk of raw black tourmaline, and wondered about their stories? Their tales are as diverse as they are fascinating. Both these stones serve a special purpose in the realm of metaphysical properties, and yet, they have unique personalities. Before we deep dive, it’s essential to set the stage for our exploration. I promise, by the end, you’ll not only understand the physical and energetic differences between them but will also be in awe of their histories and significances.

Importance of Understanding the Differences

While both obsidian and tourmaline have been cherished for ages due to their incredible healing properties, knowing their differences empowers us. Every gem collector, healer, or enthusiast can benefit from distinguishing these black crystals. In the world of crystals, it’s all about resonance and finding the stone that vibes with your energy.

Black Obsidian Vs. Black Tourmaline: A Comparative Glance

So, you’re wondering about the difference between black tourmaline and obsidian? Let’s start our exploration with a closer look. Black obsidian, often known as volcanic glass, exudes a certain mysterious charm with its glassy appearance. On the other hand, black tourmaline has a lumpy texture and belongs to the tourmaline family, which encompasses a spectrum of colors. In their raw form, both these stones exhibit unique characteristics. Imagine the rustic charm of beaded bracelets made of raw tourmaline against the polished forms of obsidian beads.

Diving into Black Obsidian

What is Black Obsidian?

Obsidian, in its essence, is a natural volcanic glass, birthed from the fiery magma of Mother Earth. Imagine the earth’s core, bubbling with molten lava; when this lava cools rapidly, it results in obsidian. Unlike black obsidian, the volcanic rocks around might transform into granite or other minerals, but our obsidian stone remains frozen, preserving its volcanic essence.

Geological Origin and Formation

The creation story of black obsidian stone is captivating. It’s the result of volcanic lava coming in quick contact with air or water. Most obsidian rocks you find have a shiny, glassy appearance which makes them an eye-catching gem for many enthusiasts. When held up to bright light, you might even spot smokey grey or rusty red tints in some specimens.

Physical Properties

  • Color: The color spectrum for obsidian primarily ranges from jet black to deep greys. However, it’s not uncommon to find obsidian with inclusions, leading to variations like snowflake obsidian or even rainbow obsidian.
  • Luster: Its lustrous shine often gets obsidian mistaken for black onyx or even black opal doublets. But, unlike making black opal doublets which involve adhering to glassy black layers, obsidian’s sheen is all-natural.
  • Hardness: Obsidian rests at around 5-6 on the Mohs scale, making it of medium hardness. This characteristic made it a favorite among ancient civilizations, often flint-chipped to form sharp-edged weapons.

Cultural Significance and Historical Use

Throughout history, obsidian has been revered. Ancient Mesoamericans made tools, weapons, and even mirrors out of this stone. They believed in its power to reflect not just physical appearances but the soul’s desires and truths, aiding self-reflection. Over in the East, obsidian has its place in feng shui practices, where it’s believed to shield against negative energies.

Black Obsidian Meaning and Healing Properties

Here’s where it gets enchanting! Black obsidian holds an energy like no other. Often termed the “psychic vacuum cleaner,” this gem protects against energy vampires, negative entities, and harmful emotions. If you’ve ever felt bogged down by low vibrational entities or negative energy, an obsidian stone could be your guardian. Grounding energy to the root chakra, it also aids in aligning one’s spirit.

Benefits and Uses Today

  • Jewelry: From beaded bracelets to intricate pendants, black obsidian jewelry is not just a style statement but also a protective amulet. Imagine wearing a piece that not only looks ravishing but also serves a higher purpose!
  • Healing and Metaphysical Properties: Beyond its grounding properties, obsidian aids in pain relief, circulation, and detoxification. It also assists in shadow work, letting you confront your deepest fears and traumas.

Unveiling Black Tourmaline

What is Black Tourmaline?

Black tourmaline, often called “schorl,” is an intriguing member of the tourmaline family. Unlike its colorful siblings which range from enchanting pinks to vibrant greens, black tourmaline stands out with its deep, opaque hue. The stone is formed when a unique symmetry of elements like iron, magnesium, and other minerals merge under intense heat and pressure within the Earth’s crust.

Also read: What does black tourmaline attract?

Geological Origin and Formation

The birth of black tourmaline is a tale of elements and transformations. Found primarily in granite and granitic pegmatites, these stones form over thousands of years. When held against a bright light, the crystal structure of tourmaline often showcases three sided prisms, a ditrigonal pyramidal shape that’s fascinating to behold.

Physical Properties

  • Color: Predominantly a deep, intense black. But just like obsidian, when you look closer under certain lighting conditions or in their raw form, you might catch hints of a smokey grey or even a rusty red in some specimens.
  • Luster: Tourmaline possesses a vitreous luster. Though not as reflective as polished black obsidian, it exhibits a unique crystal brilliance that has drawn many gem collectors and enthusiasts towards it.
  • Hardness: Slightly harder than obsidian, black tourmaline scores between 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale. This hardness contributes to its durability, making it suitable for jewelry and other uses.

Cultural Significance and Historical Use

From ancient times, black tourmaline has been a stone associated with protection. In many cultures, it was believed that this stone had the power to repel negative energies and guard against harmful intent. Warriors and soldiers would often carry pieces of black tourmaline as amulets into battles, believing in its shielding prowess.

Black Tourmaline Meaning and Healing Properties

At the heart of black tourmaline’s allure lies its incredible metaphysical properties. It’s renowned as one of the most potent protective stones in the crystal world. Black tourmaline acts as a shield against all kinds of negative energy, including electromagnetic smog from electronic devices. This crystal also has grounding properties, linking directly to the base or root chakra, ensuring that you’re anchored to the Earth.

Benefits and Uses Today

  • Jewelry: The raw and polished forms of black tourmaline have made it an exquisite choice for jewelry. Whether it’s chunk forms for statement pieces or polished obsidian beads for subtle elegance, this stone remains a favorite.
  • Healing and Metaphysical Properties: Apart from safeguarding against negative energies, black tourmaline is known for offering relief from anxiety and stress. It’s an agent of purification, cleansing one’s environment and even one’s own aura.

Read also: What does black tourmaline do?

Black Obsidian Vs Black Tourmaline
Black Obsidian Vs Black Tourmaline

Black Obsidian Vs Black Tourmaline


  • Appearance: At first glance, both these black stones can appear quite similar, especially in polished forms. They both emanate an aura of mystery and power.
  • Metaphysical Properties: Both obsidian and tourmaline are protective stones, warding off negative energies. They also resonate deeply with the root chakra, aiding in grounding and providing stability.
  • Healing Properties and Benefits: Both stones are lauded for their healing properties, helping the wearer or user navigate through emotional challenges, dispelling negativity, and promoting overall well-being.


When it comes to distinguishing between these two stones, their physical and energetic differences come into play:

  • Chakras: While both resonate with the root chakra, black tourmaline also has associations with aligning and balancing all the chakras.
  • Look and Visual Appeal: Obsidian, with its volcanic glass origin, often has a more reflective stone surface, whereas tourmaline, with its crystal structure, may have unique patterns and three sided prisms.
  • Pattern and Clarity: Black obsidian usually presents as a more uniform, solid black, while black tourmaline can occasionally exhibit striations or inclusions of other minerals.
  • Physical Properties: We’ve touched upon this – their differences in luster, hardness, and crystal structure.
  • Chemical Composition: Obsidian is a mineraloid gemstone and lacks a crystalline structure, whereas black tourmaline is a crystalline silicate mineral with unique compositions.

How to Differentiate Between the Two Stones

Visual Cues:

  • Raw Form: Black obsidian, being volcanic glass, typically has a smooth, glassy appearance. In contrast, raw black tourmaline often has a somewhat lumpy texture with small crystals visible.
  • Polished Stones: Polished obsidian beads or chunks will reflect light brilliantly, owing to their glassy layers. Black tourmaline, though it can be polished to a high brilliance, often retains a slightly less reflective quality.
  • Color and Inclusions: While both are predominantly black, upon close inspection and under certain lights, black tourmaline may have some inclusions or other colors slightly visible.

Physical Tests:

  • Hardness: One of the most telltale tests, the Mohs scale is instrumental in distinguishing them. Obsidian will generally rank around 5 to 5.5, while black tourmaline will rank higher, around 7 to 7.5.
  • Scratch Test: Given the hardness differences, obsidian can be scratched by black tourmaline but not vice versa.

Professional Identification and Certification: If you’re still unsure, consider seeking the expertise of a gemologist. They use specialized equipment and knowledge to definitively identify stones.

Comparison Table: Black Obsidian vs Black Tourmaline

PropertyBlack ObsidianBlack Tourmaline
OriginVolcanic glassCrystalline formation
Hardness (Mohs)5 – 5.57 – 7.5
Typical ColorDeep blackDeep black
Chakra AssociationRoot chakraRoot chakra (and others)
Metaphysical PropertiesGrounding, ProtectionGrounding, Protection, Balancing

Recap of Key Differences and Similarities

Both of these eye-catching gemstones offer profound healing and protection against negative energies. Yet, each has its unique tale of origin, formation, and metaphysical attributes. Black obsidian’s volcanic birth imbues it with fiery energies of transformation, while black tourmaline’s crystalline complexity speaks of grounding energy and balance.

Read also: Black onyx vs black tourmaline.

Personal Preference vs Objective Facts

There’s an undeniable magic in both stones. Some are drawn to the frozen liquid allure of obsidian, a silent testament to Earth’s fiery outbursts. Others lean towards the crystal brilliance of black tourmaline, a protective beacon against energy vampires.

Whichever you gravitate towards, remember: Your connection with a stone, be it black obsidian or black tourmaline, transcends mere physical properties. It’s an energetic bond, a silent conversation between the universe’s whispers and your heart’s desires.

Encouraging Exploration of Both Gemstones

Don’t just stop at one! Whether you’re looking to wear them as beaded bracelets or keep them in raw form for feng shui applications, explore the facets of both. Maybe even experiment with making black opal doublets! Their combined energies can amplify your protective shield, harmonize your spaces, and deepen your journey of self-reflection.

Conclusion: Black Obsidian Vs Black Tourmaline

So, which one should you choose? Well, it really depends on your needs and intentions. If you are looking for a stone that can help you ground yourself and protect you from negative energy, black obsidian is a great choice. If you are looking for a stone that can transmute negative energy and promote positivity, black tourmaline might be a better fit. Of course, you can always choose to work with both stones and experience their unique properties firsthand. In any case, both black obsidian and black tourmaline are excellent stones for enhancing your well-being and bringing more positivity into your life.

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