Home Tourmaline Black Onyx vs. Black Tourmaline: Which is Better?

Black Onyx vs. Black Tourmaline: Which is Better?

by Madonna

When it comes to choosing a gemstone for its protective and grounding properties, two popular choices often come to mind: Black Onyx and Black Tourmaline. Both stones have a rich history and are revered in various cultures for their powerful energies. However, deciding which one is better for you can be challenging without understanding their unique characteristics, benefits, and applications. In this article, we will explore these two captivating stones in detail to help you make an informed decision.

Origins and Characteristics

Black Onyx

Black Onyx is a variety of chalcedony, a type of quartz known for its smooth and lustrous appearance. It is formed through the deposition of silica in gas cavities of lava. This process creates a banded structure, which is a hallmark of Onyx, although the black variety typically displays less pronounced banding.


Black Onyx is predominantly sourced from Brazil, India, and Madagascar. Its deep black color and high polish make it a favorite for jewelry and decorative items. Historically, it has been used in carving and engraving due to its relatively hard yet workable nature.


Black Tourmaline

Black Tourmaline, also known as Schorl, belongs to the Tourmaline family, which comprises a complex group of silicate minerals. It is formed in a wide variety of geological environments, including granite pegmatites and metamorphic rocks. Its unique structure contains iron, which gives it its characteristic black color.


Black Tourmaline is found in many parts of the world, with significant deposits in Brazil, Africa, Pakistan, and the United States. Its appearance ranges from opaque to semi-translucent, often exhibiting striations along its length.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Hardness and Durability

Black Onyx has a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, making it relatively durable for everyday wear. It is resistant to scratches and can maintain its polish for a long time with proper care.

Black Tourmaline is slightly softer, with a hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale. While it is durable, it is more brittle compared to Black Onyx and may chip if not handled carefully. However, its durability is still adequate for most jewelry applications.

Chemical Composition

Black Onyx is primarily composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2), with its color resulting from the presence of iron and carbon impurities. Its uniform structure contributes to its smooth and shiny finish.

Black Tourmaline has a more complex chemical composition, often including elements such as iron, magnesium, and aluminum. This complexity gives it unique physical properties, such as pyroelectricity (the ability to generate an electrical charge when heated) and piezoelectricity (the ability to generate an electrical charge under pressure).

Metaphysical Properties

Protective Qualities

Both Black Onyx and Black Tourmaline are renowned for their protective qualities, but they manifest these properties in slightly different ways.

Black Onyx is often associated with providing emotional strength and stability. It is believed to absorb and transform negative energy, helping to prevent the drain of personal energy. This makes it a popular choice for those seeking to build inner strength and resilience.

Black Tourmaline is highly regarded for its grounding and protective capabilities. It is said to create a protective shield around the wearer, deflecting negative energies and electromagnetic radiation. This makes it a preferred stone for those looking to protect themselves from environmental stressors and psychic attacks.

Emotional and Spiritual Healing

Black Onyx is known for its ability to help with emotional balance and self-control. It is often used in meditation to enhance focus and concentration, aiding in the development of discipline and clarity.

Black Tourmaline, on the other hand, is considered a powerful grounding stone. It helps to balance the root chakra, promoting a sense of security and stability. It is also used to cleanse and purify the aura, removing negative thoughts and encouraging a positive outlook.

Applications and Uses


Both Black Onyx and Black Tourmaline are popular choices for jewelry due to their striking appearance and beneficial properties.

Black Onyx is often used in rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Its smooth surface and deep black color make it a versatile gemstone that pairs well with various metals and designs. It is also frequently used in men’s jewelry due to its bold and sophisticated look.

Black Tourmaline is also favored for its unique aesthetic. It is commonly found in pendants, earrings, and bracelets. Its striated texture adds an interesting dimension to jewelry pieces. Additionally, its protective qualities make it a meaningful choice for everyday wear.

Decorative Items and Feng Shui

Black Onyx is used in decorative items such as figurines, vases, and bowls. Its polished finish and durability make it ideal for items that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In Feng Shui, Black Onyx is placed in homes and offices to bring balance and harmony.

Black Tourmaline is widely used in Feng Shui to protect spaces from negative energy. It is often placed near electronic devices to shield against electromagnetic fields. Large Black Tourmaline crystals are also used as centerpieces to create a protective barrier in living spaces.

See Also: Black Tourmaline vs. Obsidian

Practical Considerations

Price and Availability

Black Onyx is generally more affordable than Black Tourmaline, making it accessible for a wide range of budgets. Its availability is also relatively high, as it is produced in significant quantities in various parts of the world.

Black Tourmaline can be more expensive, especially for high-quality specimens. Its price varies depending on the size, quality, and origin of the stone. While it is also widely available, premium pieces can command higher prices.

Care and Maintenance

Both Black Onyx and Black Tourmaline require proper care to maintain their appearance and properties.

Black Onyx should be cleaned with mild soap and water. It is best to avoid harsh chemicals and ultrasonic cleaners, as these can damage the stone. Storing it separately from other gemstones can prevent scratches.

Black Tourmaline is also cleaned with mild soap and water. Due to its brittleness, it is important to handle it with care to avoid chipping. It is recommended to cleanse Black Tourmaline regularly to maintain its protective properties, often using methods such as smudging with sage or placing it in moonlight.


The decision between Black Onyx and Black Tourmaline ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs.

If you are looking for a gemstone that offers emotional stability, inner strength, and a sleek, polished appearance, Black Onyx is an excellent choice. Its affordability and durability make it suitable for everyday wear and decorative use.

On the other hand, if you seek a stone with strong protective and grounding properties, Black Tourmaline is the superior option. Its ability to shield against negative energies and electromagnetic radiation makes it a valuable companion for both personal and environmental protection.

Both stones have their unique advantages, and many people find value in incorporating both into their lives. Whether you choose Black Onyx, Black Tourmaline, or both, you will be welcoming powerful allies that enhance your well-being and protection.


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