Dravite is a mineral with a hardness of 8 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness [?]. These Trigonally structured gems are made of complex borosilicate, their full chemical compound being NaMg3Al6(BO3)Si6O18(OH)4.
Dravite also called Brown Tourmaline is a sodium magnesium-rich mineral in the Tourmaline group of silicates, with a hexagonal system. Other members of this group include elbaite (sodium lithium aluminum rich); schorl and buergerite (sodium iron rich); uvite (calcium magnesium rich); and liddicoatite (calcium lithium aluminum rich). A continuous solid solution series exists between uvite and dravite (calcium-sodium substitution in sodium- and magnesium-rich tourmalines respectively).
Crystals in the tourmaline group are prismatic, often very elongated with vertical striations and sometimes hemimorphic. There are aggregates of parallel or radiating individuals. Stubby prismatic crystals are less frequent. Compact masses are rare.
Dravite occurs as little radiating tuffs along twinning planes in albite or in albite crystal as isolated needles. Equant forms do not usually show striations. Crystals may show a triangular cross-section with curved sides. Inclusions may be so placed that a cat's-eye effect is possible though the eye is less sharp than its counterpart in chrysoberyl.
It is very hard, heavy, with conchoidal fracture. It is transparent to translucent with vitreous luster, tending to resinous on fracture surfaces. The colour is mainly yellow brown to dark brown, but may be brown to black, red, yellow, blue or green, colourless to white. It is insoluble in acids.
It also appears as lathlike inclusions, as intergrowth of golden-brown or yellow dravite with pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite, and rarely with galena, sphalerite, or pyrite, from Black Hawk, Penobscot Bay area, Mine (USA). Poikilitic aligned laths, an intergrowth of plagioclase subparallel to the c-axis of dravite can be seen in Yinnieharra district (West Australia).
A fibrous flexible matted aggregate of dravite parallel to c-axis can be in Rutherford, Virginia (USA). Dark brown to red dravites come from Zambia (Africa).
A green to black magnesium and chromium-rich variety is called "chromdravite" which occurs as small acicular dark green crystals and has been found in Kareliya, Russia; a dark brown to black magnesium-rich variety is "ferridravite" or "povondravite," very small black crystals found in deposits in Bolivia.
Terms used for dravite include "magnesium tourmaline" a scientific designation; "coronet," for dravite from Crown Point, New York (USA); "magnesioschorlite" for the dravite part of a dravite-schorl series; "mangano dravite" for mangan-rich dravite tourmaline; "vanadiumdravite," very small dark green to yellow crystals at locations in the Lake Baikal area of Russia.
Dravite derives its name from Drave in Austria.
Dravite is also used for ornamental applications, and as a gemstone. Because of its strong pleochroism, the stone must be cut so that the table lies parallel to the main axis. Varieties that are strongly piezoelectric and pyroelectric are used in high pressure gauges. The chemical complexity of minerals of the tourmaline group has so far ruled out serious attempts at synthesis.