Getting to Know October Birthstones Better – Opal and Tourmaline

October Birthstones- Opal and Tourmaline

October brings a symphony of change- from summer’s bright, lushness to the mellowed scarlet golden warmth of the fall. The soothing gold color of fall leaves echoes that ends can be stunning, too, and a worthy reason for celebration. From pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween to the fall foliage, October gives us many reasons to rejoice. And to top it all, the month has not one but two sparkling birthstones – Opal and Tourmaline, both just as calm and reassuring as fall itself. All you lucky folks born in October, read on as we dive deeper into interesting bits about these birthstones.

Is the Birthstone for October Opal or Tourmaline?

It is BOTH.

October babies get double the gems!

Unlike most months with a single birthstone, October is blessed with two – Opal and Tourmaline. These glistening stones are certainly off the beaten path and speak of the unique attributes of October-born: grounded, charming, and affable!

The earliest birthstone records date to the early 1900s when the National Association of Jewelers of the United States formalized a list of birthstones for each month. Except for three months (March, August, & October) with two birthstones and two months with three birthstones (June & December). Although confusing, two stones for a single month allowed people to choose one over the other based on their tastes and budget.

The oddity of having two birthstones for October has an explanation. The primary birthstone for October is opal. But there were concerns about the durability of this gorgeous stone and its association with feminine features. So, the National Association of Jewelers added tourmaline to opal. As a result, opal and pink tourmaline, specifically, are now recognized as October birthstones. 

October Birthstones: Everything You Need to Know

Keep calm and let October shine with illuminating opals and tourmalines!

Here is everything you need to know about glitzy, iridescent October birthstones.

OCTOBER'S OPAL

As they say, “October is the opal month of the year….,” we bring to you Opal- the first October birthstone on our list.

HISTORY

Opal is one of the most elegant and regal colored gemstones, loved by royalty for years. The traditional October birthstone has a rich history and much lore around it. Queen Victoria was enchanted by the iridescent glitz of this enigmatic stone, harboring a borderline obsession. A little stroll back in time and we discover even Romans had a thing for opal. According to legend, one Roman Emperor bargained to exchange one-third of his empire for a single Opal. Mark Antony fancied precious opals and left a collection for his beloved Cleopatra.

Opal’s origins can be traced back to ancient Ethiopia. However, Australia dominated opal production in the late 1800s, and Australian opals were first featured on the global market in the 1890s. In the present day, South Australia accounts for more than half of global opal production.

MEANING AND SYMBOLISM

Opal is the primary and most well-known October birthstone, derived from the Greek word opallios, which means “to see a color change.” The modern name of opal is also related to the ancient Sanskrit term Upala, which means “precious stone.” The term “opalus” was also used in ancient Roman culture to mean prized-possession and power.

Opals, whatever name you give them, represent the “dramatic play of color” that has inspired poets and authors to compare them to firecrackers, volcanoes, and galaxies. In Middle Ages folklore and legend, the opal was revered as the bringer of good fortune. The Bedouins (nomadic Arab tribes) believed that this kaleidoscopic gem fell from the sky during thunderstorms, contained lightning, and had the cumulative qualities of all colored stones.

OPAL DEPOSITS

This traditional birthstone of October is mined across various countries like Brazil and Mexico. In the 1850s, Australia rose to the top of the chart as the center of opal deposits. The most prized black opal is also mined in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, and Australia. But more recently, the Ethiopian opal, also known as the Welo opal, was found in the Ethiopian province of Wollo. Because of its striking hues and patterns, this new variety of opals is highly sought after.

Let us share a bit of trivia with you!

Opal can be found in other places besides our planet. Opal is found on Mars too! Scientists’ discovery of opal deposits on Mars in 2008 suggests that there may have once been life there because opal is created when water evaporates, leaving silica behind.

CARE AND CLEANING

The best way to clean opal is with soap and warm water. However, excessive exposure of your opal jewelry to water will destabilize the sealer in opal doublets and triplets. This stone needs maintenance as it scores a 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Keep it out of direct heat and high temperatures to avoid cracking or fractures.

OPAL FUN FACTS

– A 1 cm length of opal takes at least 5–6 million years to form.

– This gemstone is linked to loyalty, fortune, and self-assurance.

– Opals are given as a gift to mark the 14th wedding anniversary.

– Opals come in two varieties: common and precious.

– The gemstone is available in numerous colors.

– Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.

– Just like diamonds, opals can also be lab-grown.

– The most uncommon variety of opal is black opal.

– The Virgin Rainbow is the most valuable and prized opal in the world.

OCTOBER'S TOURMALINE

Ravishing and vibrant, tourmaline was later declared the second birthstone for October. Denoting the Sinhalese term toramalli, standing for “stone with mixed colors,” tourmaline is as captivating as opals.

HISTORY

The discovery of tourmaline occurred in the 1800s when scientists started differentiating this stone from other precious stones. But long before this, in the 1500s, a Spanish explorer discovered green tourmaline in Brazil, mistaking it for the green emerald. Before the 1400s, black tourmalines were known as “schorl.” In the 1600s or early 1700s, Dutch traders found the stone off the West Coast of Italy for the first time. And from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), tourmalines were brought to Europe by the Dutch East India Company.

The stone’s popularity skyrocketed with the discovery of American tourmaline deposits. In 1876, the green tourmaline was widely advertised as the “American Gem.”

Pink and red rubellites, chrome and neon green tourmalines, and blue-to-violet “paraba” tourmalines are among the most popular colors of this October stone. Tourmalines are also gifted on eighth wedding anniversaries.

MEANING AND SYMBOLISM

The beauty of this stone once inspired poets and artists. Tourmaline was connected to creativity from the Renaissance to the Victorian era. Tourmaline was used as a talisman by writers such as Shakespeare to help them articulate their creative side better.

The stone is also thought to have therapeutic properties. For example, Dutch scientists asserted that placing a tourmaline wrapped in silk against a feverish child’s cheek stimulates sleep. Similarly, the stone was used in Africa to revive people from “the dream of illusion.” Tourmaline was also used as a charm by Aboriginals, Native Americans, and African Tribes to provide “protection from all dangers.”

Based on centuries of folklore, different colors of tourmaline represent different attributes.

Black– Protection and self-confidence

Pink– Compassion and gentleness

Green– Courage, stamina, and strength

Blue– Calmness and stability

Red– Inner strength and wisdom

Brown- Emotional balance

CARE AND CLEANING

With a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, tourmaline jewelry is suitable to wear daily. However, be cautious to keep this gemstone away from heat. To clean this October gem, use warm soapy water and a soft-bristle brush. There should be no scrubbing, but gentle brushing is recommended.

TOURMALINE FUN FACTS

– Tourmaline jewelry is perfect to be worn every day.

– The  stone shows no fissures or cracks and is less brittle than other gemstones.

– Tourmaline is believed to be laden with spiritual powers that boost self-esteem.

– This is not a traditional birthstone.

– Tourmaline is for people born under the zodiac sign Libra.

October Birthstone Jewelry at Gabriel & Co.

Now that you know about the enigmatic opal and the vibrant tourmaline, you might be inspired to add them to your jewelry trove. Discover stylish October birthstone jewelry pieces from Gabriel & Co. and pick your favorites.

These pink tourmaline studs, designed for a classic look, sit perfectly on your ear lobe, making an impactful statement. The surrounding scintillating halo diamonds enlarge the look of the central stone and beautifully reflect light, for a touch of glam. Pair it with an evening gown for a head-turning look.

This pink tourmaline pendant with the halo diamond setting is what defines a classic, fuss-free design that still exudes elegance. To complete the ensemble for a cocktail dinner, wear it with the 14K White Gold Pink Tourmaline Stud Earrings.

This beautifully handcrafted pendant’s simple yet chic central stone catches light and attention. The lovely pendant features a prominent bezel set tourmaline stone with a smaller bezel set diamond. This is one of our favorite designs, and it is made of 925 sterling silver.

Consider this pink tourmaline heart pendant necklace an eclectic take on a vintage design. The gleaming round tourmaline stone is prong-set and surrounded by gleaming pave diamonds in a halo setting. The entire arrangement is set on a 14K white gold base and will provide you with a one-of-a-kind look. We recommend pairing this petite necklace with pink tourmaline or ruby studs to highlight its beauty.

This 14K yellow gold tourmaline finger ring, one of our favorites from the Bujukan collection, exudes pure vintage style. A fuss-free design that epitomizes the impact of simplicity. To highlight the vibrance of this ring, wear it on a romantic date with a pink-tone outfit.

Make some noise for these petite tourmaline and diamond lever back earrings set in 925 sterling silver. They embody a classic feminine design and are great for women who enjoy stylish yet subtle, informal accessories.

Are diamonds too neutral for your exuberant personality? Does the beauty of colored birthstones captivate you? What is holding you back, then? Whether or not you are October born, we say these gorgeous jewelry pieces deserve a place in every fashionista’s jewelry collection. Discover superlative designs at Gabriel & Co. Elevate your look with enigmatic opals or colorful tourmaline and leave a lasting impression with your refreshing style!

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