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                           Mineral of the Month--August 2007

                              Schorl (Black Tourmaline)

                                              Sodium, Iron, Boron, Aluminum Borosilicate




                                               Schorl Tourmaline Picfest!

                                              By Ken Casey

Chemistry & Science
Schorl Picfest!
Members' Gallery
Article Contributors
Photo & Graphics Credits
Suggested Reading
Invitation to Members
Past Minerals of the Month
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Iron-rich and opaque...'s facets rivet us for a view!

(Top, left): Schorl, Stan Celestian 2007
(Top, right): Schorl, Stan Celestian 2007
(Bottom, right): Schorl, Stan Celestian 2007


     August is here, and time to continue our annual Summer Picfest with Schorl.  With
an opaque, yet jet black sharpness, schorl is the most common (yet fascinating) of the
Tourmalines.  So, get set to for some crystals that more than meet the eye.  Let's go!



     Welcome to another annual Mineral Picfest! 

     We're still in the height of summer (winter in the southern hemisphere)!  And, Schorl is
our esteemed choice this month.  Most every nation in the world can brag about their Schorl.



Chemistry & Science


     Our Schorl is part of the Elbaite-Schorl Series.  Elbaite, Dravite and Schorl are all part
of the Tourmaline Group.  Sometimes referred to as Schorlite, this tourm sports outstanding
crystal faces!

     Schorl's chemistry of NaFe3B3Al3(Al3Si6O27)(OH)4 exhibits Iron, Boron, and more Oxygen
than our last two Summer Picfest minerals of Elbaite and Rubellite Tourmalines.

     As a basic constituent of most earthly pegmatites, black tourmaline rules the roost as
occurring in an almost endless variety of mineral associations.  It shares crystal space with
such neighbors as quartz, feldspar, garnet, micas, and more!

    Found on seven continents, Schorl's commonality reaches across nations.  Mineral
enthusiasts can gather and share stories about their encounters with their local black
tourmalines. database.


Schorl Picfest!


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Fluorite with Schorl and Quartz
(ex Nelson Collection)
Erongo, Namibia
Schorl with Albite
(ex Nelson Collection)
Doko, Shugar-Dassu, Balistan, Pakistan


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Schorl with Quartz and Muscovite
(ex Nelson Collection)
Teofilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Conselheiro Pena, Minas Gerais, Brazil


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Orthoclase with Schorl
Orongo Mountains, Namibia


Schorl with Quartz crystal intergrown
(ex Nelson Collection)
Shigar Valley, Skardu, Northern Areas, Pakistan


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Schorl on Quartz
(ex Nelson Collection)
Kollona, near Embilipitiya, Uva Prov., Sri Lanka


Aquamarine Beryl after Orthoclase with Schorl, Hyalite Opal
Erongo Mountains, Namibia
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Orongo Mountains, Namibia
(ex Yoder Collection)
Blue Sky Prospect, Santa Cruz, Sonora, Mexico


Photos by and courtesy of Isaias Casanova 2007, IC Minerals
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Sonora, Mexico
Terminated Schorl Crystal in matrix
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Schorl Crystals Schorl
Huachuca Mountains, southeastern Arizona
Photos courtesy of Roger Weller, Cochise College
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Schorl Crystal Schorl Crystal
Photos courtesy of Stan Celestian, Glendale Community College


     Tourmaline has had two major uses: as a piezoelectric plate in instrumentation and as
a supreme gemstone.  Schorl is the tourmaline that scientists, engineers, and mechanics
rely upon in certain instrumentations.  Both low- and high-tech, this useful tourm can serve,
yet is rarely cabbed or faceted as gemstones, due to its brittle nature.



Glendale Community College Earth Science Image Archive: Tourmaline

Roger Weller's Mineral Photo Gallery at Cochise College


Members' Gallery

Here is where DMS Members can add their Schorl photos to share with us.


Until Next Time

     We hope you have enjoyed our all too short visit to Schorl.  Please join us next month,
for another article, and we shall journey together!
     Until then, stay safe, and happy collecting. hardhat2a.gif (5709 bytes)



Article Contributors

Photo & Graphics Credits

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of our fellow Schorl
enthusiasts, collectors, authors, curators, professionals, and club members who made this
work possible. 

Isaias Casanova, I C Minerals

Roger Weller, Geology Instructor, Cochise College

Stan Celestian, Emeritus Instructor, Glendale Community College


2007  All contributions to this article are covered under the copyright protection of this article
and by separate and several copyright protection(s), and are to be used for the sole purposes of
enjoying this scholarly article.  They are used gratefully with express written permission of the
authors, save for generally-accepted scholarly quotes, short in nature, deemed legal to reference
with the appropriate citation and credit.  Reproduction of this article must be obtained by express
written permission of the author, Kenneth B. Casey, for his contributions, authoring, photos, and
graphics.  Use of all other credited materials requires permission of each contributor separately. 
Links and general contact information are included in the credits above, and throughout this article. 
The advice offered herein are only suggestions; it is the reader's charge to use the information
contained herein responsibly.  DMS is not responsible for misuse or accidents caused from this
article. All opinions, theories, proofs, and views expressed within this article, and in others on this
website, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.

Suggested Reading



KEN.JPG (31503 bytes)

   About the Author:  Ken is current webmaster of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.  He has a diploma in Jewelry Repair, Fabrication & Stonesetting from the Bowman Technical School, Lancaster, PA, and worked as jeweler.  He has also studied geology at the University of Delaware.  And, he is currently a member of the Delaware Mineralogical Society and the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society.  E-mail:

Invitation to Members


Want to see your name in print?  Want to co-author, contribute, or author a whole Mineral of the Month article?  Well, this the forum for you!

And Members, if you have pictures, or a story you would like to share, please feel free to offer.  We'd like to post them for our mutual enjoyment.   Of course, you get full photo and author credit, and a chance to reach other collectors, hobbyists, and scientists.  We only ask that you check your facts, give credit where it is due, keep it wholesome for our Junior Members watching, and keep on topic regarding rockhounding.

You don't even have to be experienced in making a webpage.  We can work together to publish your story.  A handwritten short story with a Polaroid will do.  If you do fancier, a text document with a digital photo will suit, as well.   Sharing is the groundwork from which we can get your story out there.

Our club's webpages can reach any person surfing the net in the world, and even on the International Space Station, if they have a mind to view our website!

We are hoping for a possible tie-in to other informative programs upon which our fellow members might want to collaborate.  Contact any officer or board member with your suggestions.

Our next MOTM will be a surprise.  For 2007-8, we are waiting for your suggestions.  What mineral do you want to know more about?

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Most of the Mineral of the Month selections have come from most recent club fieldtrips and March Show Themes, and from inspriring world locales. thus far.  If you have a suggestion for a future Mineral of the Month, please e-mail me at:, or tell me at our next meeting.



Past Minerals of the Month
July 2007 Mineral of the Month: Rubellite
June 2007 Mineral of the Month: Elbaite
May 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Feldspar, Part 2
April 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Feldspar: Plagioclase
March 2007 Mineral of the Month: "The Colors of Fluorite"
February 2007 Mineral of the Month: Pennsylvania Fluorite
January 2007 Mineral of the Month: Sillimanite
December 2006 Mineral of the Month: Hedenbergite by Karissa Hendershot
November 2006 Mineral of the Month: Brandywine Blue Gneiss
October 2006 Mineral of the Month: Spessartite by Karissa Hendershot
September 2006 Mineral of the Month: Native Silver
August 2006 Mineral of the Month: Kryptonite
August 2006 Mineral of the Month: Kryptonite
July 2006 Mineral of the Month: Azurite
June 2006 Mineral of the Month: Pyromorphite
May 2006 Mineral of the Month: Tsavorite by Karissa Hendershot
April 2006 Mineral of the Month: Variscite
March 2006 Mineral of the Month: Petrified Wood, Part II
February 2006 Mineral of the Month: Petrified Wood, Part I
January 2006 Mineral of the Month: Strontianite by Karissa Hendershot
December Mineral of the Month: Clinozoisite
November Mineral of the Month: Bismuth
October Mineral of the Month: Wulfenite by Karissa Hendershot
September Mineral of the Month: Turquoise
August Mineral of the Month: Peridot
July Mineral of the Month: Ruby
June Mineral of the Month: Antarctic Fluorite
May Mineral of the Month: Dolomite, Part 2
April Mineral of the Month: Dolomite, Part 1
March Mineral of the Month: Calcite
February Mineral of the Month: Agate
January Mineral of the Month: Fluorite
December Mineral of the Month: Pyrite
November Mineral of the Month: Stilbite  
October Mineral of the Month: Celestite   

This page last updated:  January 17, 2013 09:16:50 PM




Next Meeting

April Program, Monday, April 8, 2013:

"Destruction of the Fossil Exposures in the Chesapeake Bay Area" presented by Dr. Lauck Ward

General Club Meeting:
April 8, 2013

We are meeting at
Greenbank Mill

Special Meetings:

*Show Committee Meeting, April or May, 2013

*New Home/Lapidary Committee, 2013

*Board Meeting,  April, 2013

Next Field Trips


Past Fieldtrips

Next Show
DMS March Show
March 1-2, 2014 at DelTech Stanton


Our 2013 Show Theme was:
"All That Glitters is as Good as Gold!"

March Show 2013 Report






Fossil Forum

"Dinny, the Dino"

"Belemnites are coming"


MOTM June also commemorates our 50th Show!

It's shiny, yellow, and is a symbol of 50 Years!Can you guess?


Collecting Adventure Stories:

"Sunny Brook Crick Goethite" by Joe Dunleavy