October Birthstone: Opals And Tourmalines – A Plethora Of Colors!
The October birthstone, the Opal and the Tourmaline are the most radiant gems in the market. Both stones exhibit a vibrant spectrum of colors, lending charm and beauty to any jewelry they are fashioned in. These dual colored gems are prized across the world and are in high demand for their unique hue combinations and crystal structures.
October Birthstone Meaning, Significance and Symbolism
The Opal was a symbol of and hope to the ancient Romans. The people of the Orient christened the Opal, ‘Anchor of Hope’. Others believed the Opal fell from the heavens when lightning struck the Earth. According to legend, the Opal was believed to make its wearer invisible and was a popular talisman of spies and thieves. The stone has a unique property in changing color, believed to indicate the health and mental state of the wearer. The October birthstone is associated with purity, innocence, hope and faith. The Seeing Jewel, Observing Colour Change Precious Stone.
October has a second birthstone, the Tourmaline. Tourmalines are a relatively recent discovery and assignment. Due to its recent unveiling, the stone lacks an interesting background, lore, myths and legend. This gemstone however, is known as the ‘Peace Stone’, believing to dispel anger, fear, jealousy and aggressiveness to keep the wearer calm and tranquil. Besides peace and progress, the stone is believed to enhance creativity of its wearer.
Interesting Facts About The October Birthstone
The tourmaline is a very interesting gemstone. When warmed or rubbed, this stone attracts ash, bits of paper and lint. This happens since the gem is charged with static electricity when rubbed. The tourmaline is accorded a place of honor in its part in the studies and experiments with electricity conducted by Benjamin Franklin. The Rainbow Gem.
According to legend, Cleopatra is said to have worn a magnificent set of opals to attract Mark Anthony, ruler of Rome. Queen Victoria was a passionate collector of the gemstones, one of the many rulers who wore crowns encrusted with the gems to protect them against evil and enemies.
Contrary to popular belief, the Russians believed that the Opal represented the evil eye. The rulers of Russia were steadfastly against using the stone in any form of jewelry.
Other nations believed that the opal was considered a gemstone that brought immense fortune on the wearer as the stone possessed the virtues of each gemstone whose color was captured by the Opal’s spectrum of colors.As a result the stone was considered lucky.
Etymology Of The October Birthstone
The word opal is derived from the Roman term ‘Opalus’. Some believe the word was derived from ‘Ops’, wife of Saturn, the Goddess of fertility. Other references indicate the term was derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Upala’.
The word tourmaline is believed to have been derived from the Singhalese word ‘Toramalli’, meaning ‘something out of the Earth’. The Sri Lankan term is applied to all green, brown or yellow stones. Stone Of The Bird Of Paradise – The Name Given To One Of The October Birthstones
Scientific Make up – Composition Of The October Birthstone
The Opal is a form of non-crystalline silica gel seeped into crevices of sedimentary strata. Through the passage of time and the heating as well as molding processes of nature, the gel has hardened to form Opal gemstones. The October birthstone is closely packed in spherical layers to create three-dimensional spaces to lend radiance and intensity to the stone. Although the Opal is a mineraliod, it exhibits an array of colors.
Tourmaline is a complex mineral with an Aluminous Borosilicate composition, created out of sodium, boron, oxygen, silicon, aluminium and hydrogen atoms and crystals. Metals and impurities present in the crystal structure lend color to the gemstone. For examples, pink opals are a result of the presence of manganese while green opals contain chromium, ferrous iron vanadium.
Characteristics Of The October Birthstone
Color Of The October Birthstone
The internal structure of the opal causes the stone to diffract light thus exhibiting a range of colors. Depending on the conditions under which the stone is created, it can exhibit different colors. Opal hues range from clear and white to vibrant red, yellow, orange, blue, green, magenta, pink, rose, gray, slate, brown, black and olive. Red is the rarest while white and green opals are more common.
The crystal opal is transparent with a bright spectrum of colors, while the fire opal is translucent with bold hues of yellow, orange and red. Opal gemstones with red hues against a black backdrop are the rarest and most expensive while the green and white opals are more common and less expensive.
Tourmalines display a wide spectrum of colors from yellow, blue, pink, red, green, black, band brown.A few stones are also dual-colored with outer edges that are green slowly transitioning to transparent layer with a pink or red core. These bi-colored stones commonly found in Brazil are called ‘Watermelon’.
Origin Of The October Birthstone
Tourmalines are commonly found in Brazil, Africa, the Middle East, California and the Maine in the United States of America. These gemstones are also mined in Peru, Czechoslovakia, Australia and Mexico.
Healing Power Of The October Birthstone
The , Opal, has healing properties and is believed to be effective in curing eye infections, enhancing one’s creativity, calming nerves and strengthening memory.
The tourmaline is believed to have more psychological effects than physical effects and helps one retain their calm when under pressure, battles negative emotions like anger, jealousy and promotes peace and tranquility.
Value Of The October Birthstone
The value of the Opal gemstone depends on factors like the type of stone, body tone, pattern, color bar thickness, colors exhibited, inclusions and brilliance of the stone. Other factors that determine the value of the stone include the size of the stone, cut, polish and carat size of the gemstone. When set in jewelry, opals exhibiting multiple colors are often placed against a dark stone like basalt to provide a pleasant contrast.
The value of the other October birthstone, Tourmaline, differs with colors. The pink and green stones are less expensive as they are easily available while the neon-blue stones, known as the ‘Paraiba’ are expensive as they are rare. The Chrome tourmaline mined in Tanzania and Kenya are also expensive, and less easily obtainable.