Does Tourmaline Scratch And Break Easily?

Tourmaline has become a very popular stone in place of diamonds for multiple reasons. Many people may choose to use the gemstone as everyday wear for multiple uses, including cleansing their space! But how fragile is it? Will it scratch or break easily? We've put in the work and came up with the answer to this question for you.

Tourmaline possesses a hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means it is not quite as hard as a diamond but still falls among the more hard/durable gemstones. However, it is not invincible. There are many different types of tourmaline with different capabilities, as well as different uses for them. Cleaning and maintaining your tourmaline will keep it well protected. 

Do you think tourmaline is the right stone for you? Let's get more specific, as there is plenty of information about this diverse and interesting crystal.

A naturally grown green tourmaline crystals, Does Tourmaline Scratch And Break Easily?

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Is Tourmaline A Hard Stone?

The Mohs hardness scale is very helpful when considering how hard or brittle a stone is. As we previously mentioned, tourmaline falls under 7-7.5 for hardness. This means it isn't as hard as a diamond, ruby, or sapphire. But it is harder than most other gemstones such as jasper, bloodstone, and opal, just to name a few.

While considered a hard mineral, tourmaline is also classified as a fragile gemstone. Even though it is common for everyday wear, some people still prefer harder stones for their wedding bands or engagement rings.

Different Uses For Tourmaline

With the wide variety of types and uses of this one stone, the possibilities are basically endless. Tourmaline, of all different colors, can be incorporated into necklaces; earrings; rings; key chains; the list just goes on!

Some of us may even appreciate the properties of tourmaline so much; we choose to use it in our wedding band or engagement ring. While it isn't as hard and sturdy as a diamond itself, it can still be put through a lot with minimal damage.

Pink tourmaline cushion cut halo ring

Different Types Of Tourmaline

Gemstones and crystals are beautiful but also very interesting and have multiple uses. In general, tourmaline is used to clear negative energy or to balance out the energies in a space. As mentioned previously, there are many different types of tourmaline, and each one has its own unique purpose!

  • Black or schorl
  • Pink; colored by manganese
  • Green or verdelite; colored by iron or titanium
  • Rubellite; which comes in different shades of reds and oranges
  • Chrome; a more intense green colored by vanadium
  • Cat's-eye; which is usually blue, pink, or green
  • Watermelon; red with green overgrowth
  • Paraiba; poses the most bright and neon colors ranging in greens, blues, and violets.

Black is the most common form of tourmaline, while Paraiba is the rarest and most expensive.

Maintaining Your Tourmaline Stone Or Jewelry

Preventing Damage

Perhaps you have chosen to go with tourmaline for your ring, or maybe just for a necklace, you plan to wear often. It is generally recommended to keep your stone away from heat and bright lights, as it can cause the color to change.

Making sure your tourmaline does not suffer from a sudden temperature change will keep it from cracking or chipping. So, as long as you don't bring it into your warm home after sitting out in freezing temperatures, your tourmaline should maintain its durability.

If your tourmaline is embedded into a ring, feel free to leave it on when doing dishes, showering, washing your hands, etc. Just remember to pat the stone dry afterward.

To reduce the risk of scratching, be sure to keep the tourmaline away from matter that rates above 7 on the Mohs hardness scale.


Tourmaline's main purpose is to absorb negative energy, so it is best to cleanse or clean the stone when possible. When cleansing your tourmaline stone, do not use ultrasonic or steam cleaners. Remember to simply use soap and water instead.

If you are cleaning black tourmaline, in particular, remember to only soak the crystal in saltless water for about an hour or two. Any longer can cause the stone to become brittle and eventually break. Also, remember to limit sun-drying time as we learned earlier the long exposure to light of any kind can also cause damage.

Tourmaline on a green background


After or before cleansing the tourmaline, it is a common idea that charging your stones in different ways can help to maintain their special abilities. In particular, placing tourmaline near different types of electronics helps it to absorb the electromagnetic frequencies.

You can also use the sun's light to charge this stone, but remember to limit the length of time you leave it exposed. There are not many things that can cause much damage to a tourmaline stone, but prolonged exposure to different elements is one of them.


What Does A Tourmaline Stone Look Like?

This particular gemstone has a gorgeous and diverse appearance. When attempting to classify tourmaline, you'll want to keep these factors in mind.


Tourmaline can be almost any color, though the most common is black. This stone can also be bi-colored. The wide color variety is most likely a big reason for the tourmaline being such a well-loved gemstone.

Specific Physical Details

Tourmaline is known to have triangular cross-sections with rounded edges. They are also usually found color zoned along their length as well as through their cross-sections. It can also be pleochroic, meaning the lighter color appears when viewing perpendicular to the C-axis but darker when viewing down the same axis.

Usually, tourmaline has indistinct cleavage and has been found to form crystal habits. When forming crystal habits or clusters, tourmaline has parallel and elongated and acicular prisms.

Green and yellow tourmaline crystals

How To Tell If Tourmaline Is Real

If the tourmaline is genuine, it will alter its color when exposed to artificial light, such as a flashlight.  Different types of tourmaline display different undertones. For example, pink tourmaline possesses a brown undertone.

Get a close look at your gemstone under some source of artificial light; if it changes color to the corresponding undertone, it's real. If the color does not change, it is most likely not real.

Watch out for sellers online claiming to be selling genuine tourmaline at a very low cost, you might want to be sure you double-check the validity of your stone. This is usually not the case with most varieties of tourmaline, as it is a very plentiful stone. Watch out for fake colors of watermelon and pink tourmaline the most.

How Much Does Real Tourmaline Cost?

There are so many different types and shades of tourmaline, so the cost varies from stone to individual stone. The Paraiba tourmaline is the most expensive, selling for tens of thousands of dollars per carat. Rubellites, chrome, bi-colors, or the finer indicolites reach $1,000 a carat and even more in some cases.

The rest of the variety of tourmaline stones sell from a range of $50-$750 per carat. The large range depends upon the richness of the color of the stone.

This means, depending on what type of tourmaline you're looking for, you can obtain expensive or inexpensive types. But remember to watch out for any phonies, as Pala International warns, trying to sell their glass or plastic versions of some tourmaline.

What Does It Mean When Black Tourmaline Breaks?

Black tourmaline is the most common type of tourmaline, making it very accessible for most. We've already mentioned how black tourmaline can absorb negative energy, helping you to feel cleansed and relaxed. If your black tourmaline breaks, it could be a few things.

The most common factor is improper maintenance, such as leaving your tourmaline in saltwater for too long, causing it to crack and eventually break. A sudden temperature change brings similar results.

Cleansing your tourmaline can have a larger effect on your stone than you would think. It is important to keep positive energy around as much as possible! If your gemstone has become so overwhelmed by negative energy to the point of breaking, you may want to find additional ways to cleanse your space alongside your tourmaline.

Take Care Of Your Tourmaline, And It Will Take Care Of You!

If you're planning on wearing or using tourmaline regularly, you have many different options to choose from. Not only that, but you have a variety of ways to use or display this beautiful crystal. Just keep all of this gemstone's limits in mind and remember it is not indestructible. Have fun incorporating different forms of tourmaline into your everyday life!

For more on gemstones, check out the following:

How To Clean Tourmaline Jewelry

Does Onyx Jewelry Scratch Easily?

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