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September 22, 2022

Black Tourmaline Or Obsidian? - Identify In Under A Minute

featured image thumbnail for post Black Tourmaline Or Obsidian? - Identify In Under A Minute

There are SOOO many crystals out there that look similar. Unless you've been collecting for years you're bound to mix up some stones and get confused. That's okay! That's why we're here :)

What's the difference between black tourmaline and black obsidian?

We're going help you identify whether you're looking at Black Tourmaline or Obsidian in under a minute...

Let's get started!

Situation 1: Raw Black Tourmaline vs Raw Obsidian

This is going to be the ideal situation, because raw black tourmaline is very different than raw obsidian.

Check out how tourmaline grows in "columns" of stone:

Raw Black Tourmaline

Raw Black Tourmaline

If your stone has these columns that resemble old wood, then you're probably looking at raw tourmaline.

On the other hand...

If what you're inspecting is a piece of smooth, almost glass-like stone...

That's raw obsidian!

Obsidian has always made me think of black sludge that got turned to stone.

Look at it and let me know what you think:

Raw Black Obsidian

Raw Black Obsidian

Situation 2: Tumbled Black Tourmaline vs Tumbled Obsidian

The difference between these two stones becomes MORE apparent the LOWER the quality of stone you get.

If you've got two AAA quality pieces of Tourmaline and Obsidian then you'll have two pieces that look really similar.

But it's more likely that you've got a low or medium grade piece of Black Tourmaline.

There's nothing wrong with medium grade stones, and in our case it actually makes identifying your crystal easier!

The reason for this is that tumbled black tourmaline will often have tiny fissures and cracks on the exterior. The veins can be red, or white, or brown.

These veins will be the key to telling the difference between black tourmaline and obsidian.

Tumbled Black Tourmaline

Tumbled Black Tourmaline

Black obsidian on the other hand won't have these veins. The reason for that is the way it forms (more on that later).

Tumbled obsidian will be VERY smooth and shiny.

This stone might have some small divots in it, but won't have the same discolored veins on its exterior.

If the rock is anything but a piece of shiny black stone then you might not have obsidian!

Tumbled Black Obsidian

Tumbled Black Obsidian

Should I buy Tourmaline or Obsidian?

We've got a big bias here, but.... you should buy both!

The more crystals the better :)

If you only had to choice one though?

Well you should pick the one that fits your goals the best.

Most people tend to go with Tourmaline although we're bigger fans on Obsidian.

The tricky part about picking is that you need to know what the different properties of these crystals are...

So let's check that out!

How is obsidian different from tourmaline?

Black Tourmaline

Black Tourmaline House Painting

Black Tourmaline House Painting
Black Tourmaline, sometimes (but rarely) called Schorl, has a long history of use in magic and healing. Like many dark crystals, it's used for protection from low vibrational entities during deep work.

More common uses include grounding, easing anxiety, rebalancing the body, removing disruptive energy, shielding yourself from energy vampires, and protecting empaths.

As Judy Hall puts in here book "The Crystal Bible":

"Connecting with the base chakra, it grounds energy and increases physical vitality, dispersing tension and stress. Clearing negative thoughts, Schorl promotes a laid-back attitude and objective neutrality with clear, rational thought processes. It encourages a positive attitude, no matter what the circumstances, and stimulates altruism and practical creativity.

In healing, Black Tourmalines placed point-out from the body draw off negative energy. Black Tourmaline defends against debilitating disease, strengthens the immune system, treats dyslexia and arthritis, provides pain relief, and realigns the spinal column. Wear around your neck or place between yourselfand the source of electromagnetics."

Black Obsidian

Black Obsidian Render

Black Obsidian Render
Obsidian is another powerful dark colored stone. Made of volcanic glass, black Obsidian holds the power of truth, protection, grounding, healing, and self-reflection. It is one of the most powerful dark stones because combines the power three elements :
  • fire
  • water
  • earth

Black Obsidian is often used for scrying mirrors, spheres, and chord-cutting tools (in the form of a obsidian blade).

Warning: Obsidian is physically VERY sharp and can cut skin easily. Be careful.

A must-have for many healers, psychics and witches. It can keep you grounded during success as well as hard times and help reveal not only your inner truths but any falsehoods in your life.

Once again we turn to Judy Hall for her expertise:

"Spiritually, Obsidian vitalizes soul purpose. It eliminates energy blockages and relieves tension, integrating the psychological shadow into the whole to bring spiritual integrity. It anchors the spirit into the body. This stone stimulates growth on all levels. It urges exploration of the unknown, opening new horizons.

Mentally, Obsidian brings clarity to the mind and clears confusion and constricting beliefs. However, it may well do this by making it absolutely clear what lies behind mental distress or dis-ease. Once this has been cleared, Obsidian expands consciousness, entering the realm ofthe unknown with confidence and ease.

Psychologically, Obsidian helps you to know who you truly are. It brings you face to face with your shadow side and teaches you how to integrate it. This stone also helps you to identify behavioral patterning that is now outdated. Obsidian dissolves emotional blockages and ancient traumas, bringing a depth and clarity to emotions. It promotes qualities of compassion and strength."

Is black tourmaline better than black onyx?

Hey now! That's a question for a different article...

If you want to get the answer then you can check out our article here.


Browse our other articles to learn more about crystals.

If you have any questions or ideas for articles then you can reach out to us.

Otherwise, just remember to love yourself and the rest will follow!

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