Tourmaline has always been prized for its vast array of colors and magnificent parti-colored varieties such as watermelon, green, blue and pink tourmaline. However, it is Black Tourmaline that has gained the most interest. It has become more and more popular in Australia, not only for its reputation as one of the most protective stones, but also because it is a true Australian native.
Named ‘Warrierite’, after Warriedar Station where it is found, this variety of tourmaline is found on an island in the middle of a salt lake 400km north east of Perth in Western Australia. The area was once a bustling gold mining centre, prosperous pastoral station and was potentially to be one of Australia’s largest tomato plantations. Today the area is abandoned and has zero population.
Warrierite was formed within a major fault zone and is often found with veins of white Quartz. Because tourmaline’s chemical composition is quite a long and tedious string of various elements, gemologists have taken to expressing this as a ‘complex boro-silicate’. This particular black variety contains large amounts of ferrous iron and magnesium putting it mid-way between Dravite (the dark brown variety) and Schorl (the common black variety).
Forming in masses, rather than the elegant thin, prismatic crystals often included within other crystals, Warrierite is hard, tough and durable due to its fine-grained structure of small interlocking Tourmaline crystals. Measuring 7.5 on MOH’s scale of hardness, along with its durable nature, Warrierite produces a high polish that can challenge Black Onyx in appearance to the unsuspecting eye.
While Tourmaline crystals are often desired in their natural striated prisms, this Australian variety is without external crystalline forms and is best fashioned into cabochons and faceted shapes.
Just what we need… another black gemstone? Yep! Black is the new black and this Aussie gem is an affordable and welcomed addition to Made in Earth’s already extensive list of amazing gemstones. Our designer has created some amazing statement rings and pendants from this black beauty of a stone.
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