Hornblende vs Tourmaline: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?  

Hornblende and Tourmaline are both minerals that have a variety of properties.

While both minerals have properties in common, they also have different properties.

Keep reading to discover the similarities and differences between Hornblende and Tourmaline.

Hornblende vs Tourmaline: Explained

What is Hornblende?

Hornblende is a term used to describe a group of dark-colored amphibole minerals.

These amphibole minerals are found in different types of metamorphic and igneous rocks.

There are some rocks that consist of almost entirely hornblende, known as Amphibole.

Amphibole minerals possess compositional variants that have similar physical properties.

These minerals are so similar that they can be distinguished from each other without lab analysis.

Hornblende is a rock-forming mineral that is an essential constituent in acidic and intermediate igneous rocks.

You may be familiar with some intermediate igneous rocks, such as andesite, rhyolite, and granite.

Hornblende is also found in different metamorphic rocks, such as schist and gneiss.

What is Tourmaline?

Tourmaline is the term that is used to describe a large group of boron silicate minerals.

Although these minerals share a similar crystal structure and similar physical properties, they differ greatly in chemical composition.

Tourmaline appears in different colors and multiple color combinations more than any other mineral group.

Tourmaline is an easy gemstone to find in jewelry stores because it is the birthstone for the month of October, and it is one of the world’s most popular gemstones.

This gem is commonly found as an accessory mineral in igneous and metamorphic rocks.

This stone can be found in millimeter-sized crystals in gneiss, granite, and pegmatite.

What Are the Similarities Between Hornblende and Tourmaline?

Hornblende and Tourmaline are both found in igneous and metamorphic rocks, and they both have a variety of uses.

Both Hornblende and Tourmaline are minerals that vary in chemical composition.

There are also a lot of factors that make Hornblende and Tourmaline different.

What Are the Differences Between Hornblende and Tourmaline?

Hornblende represents a group of dark-colored amphibole minerals, while Tourmaline represents a group of minerals that vary in bright, vibrant colors.

Tourmaline is distinguished from biotite, while Hornblende is distinguished by the absence of cleavage.

Hornblende is a mineral, while tourmaline is a gemstone.

Why Do People Confuse Tourmaline with Hornblende?

Tourmaline is often confused with Hornblende because its external shape resembles a hexagonal form.

Tourmaline is a gemstone that is easily confused with other gemstones because they are available in a variety of colors.

How Can You Identify Hornblende Stones/Minerals?

Hornblende minerals are easy to identify.

These minerals are typically dark-colored, often black, and have excellent cleavage.

It is not uncommon for this cleavage to intersect at 124 and 56 degrees.

The presence of cleavage can be used to help distinguish hornblende minerals from black Tourmaline.

In other instances, identifying the individual members that belong to the Hornblende family can be near impossible unless you have special equipment.

How Can You Identify Tourmaline Stones/Minerals?

Identifying tourmaline stones and minerals can be easier than identifying Hornblende stones and minerals.

If you have pink tourmaline, put it under an artificial light.

If the stone changes color under the artificial light, you have a genuine stone.

If you want to authenticate your black tourmaline stone, take a knife and scratch the side of the stone.

Tourmaline is a hard, tough stone, so if you can easily cut through the stone, it is not authentic.

Identifying tourmaline is not as difficult as you may think.

It’s common for tourmaline crystals to have six-sided cross-sections with rounded edges or triangular edges.

They can have a prismatic crystal habit.

Where Can Hornblende be Found?

Deposits of hornblende can be found around the world.

Some main sources of hornblende include Ontario, Canada, the Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.

In the United States, there is an awesome source of hornblende stones and minerals in New York and New Jersey.

Where Can Tourmaline be Found?

Like hornblende, tourmaline can be found all over the world.

In the United States, you can find tourmaline in mines in California, New Hampshire, and Maine.

In California, you can visit The Himalaya Mine located in San Diego County and The Oceanview Mine in Pala, California.

The Stewart Mine is also located in California, but it is not open to the public.

The Oceanview Mine and The Himalaya Mine are open to the public.

You may have to pay an entrance fee at these public mines.

What Are the Uses of Hornblende?

Hornblende doesn’t have as many uses as other minerals.

The primary use of this mineral is being used as a mineral specimen.

Hornblende is the most abundant mineral in amphibolite, which has a variety of uses.

When amphibolite is crushed, it is used for highway construction and can also be used as railroad ballast.

Amphibolite is also used as a dimensional stone.

The highest quality pieces of these stones are cut and polished and sold as “black granite.”

This type of granite is used for countertops, building facing, floor tiles, and other architectural uses.

Hornblende is also used to estimate the crystallization depth of plutonic rocks.

What Are the Uses of Tourmaline?

Tourmaline was once used as a stone of protection by ancient cultures.

This gemstone can help protect you against the radiation given off by different electronic devices.

Tourmaline stones are used for measuring pressure and the changes in pressure.

These gemstones are also used in the manufacturing of hair care accessories, such as hair straighteners and hair dryers.

You may notice many of your hair accessories have a glittery shine or sparkle to them without you adding any special designs to them.

This natural sparkle is due to the tourmaline gemstones that are used to manufacture the product.

Many gemstone collectors use the gems they find to make unique pieces of jewelry and other items.

Whether these minerals and stones are dark-colored or brightly-colored, they are beautiful, and the good news is, they can be found everywhere.

Get out in nature and see what you can find!

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