Those born in October enjoy two spectacular birthstones to commemorate their birthdays – opal and tourmaline. Both October birthstones have endless color combinations and beautiful coloring characteristics.
The name of this, the traditional October birthstone, is believed to have originated in India (the source of the first opals brought to the Western world), where in Sanskrit it was called upala, a “precious stone." In ancient Rome, this became opalus.
Most opals are valued for their shifting colors in rainbow hues – a phenomenon known as “play-of-color.”
The October birthstone’s dramatic play-of-color has inspired writers to compare it to fireworks, galaxies and volcanoes.
Ancient Greeks thought opals bestowed the gift of prophesy and protection from disease. Europeans long maintained opal to be a symbol of purity, hope and truth. Hundreds of years ago, opal was believed to embody the virtues and powers of all colored stones.
This October birthstone ranges from 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. To prevent jewelry set with harder gems from scratching opal, store it by itself. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are just a few of the gems that can scratch the October birthstone.
*Opal is also the stone given to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary*
Tourmaline is the newer October birthstone. The name comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means “stone with mixed colors,” because it often has multiple colors in one crystal. Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling array of colors. Perhaps this is why ancient mystics believed this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression – it has a color palette for every mood. Among the most popular are the pink and red rubellites, the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, and the neon green and blue-to-violet “paraíba” tourmalines.
Different colors of tourmaline are thought to have their own healing properties. Black tourmaline is believed to protect the wearer and give a sense of self-confidence. Pink tourmaline embodies love and is associated with compassion and gentleness. Green tourmaline promotes courage, strength and stamina.
The tourmaline birthstone is rated 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is generally suitable for everyday wear. These colorful gems are usually stable enough to withstand light and most chemicals, but heat can be damaging. This October birthstone is best cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft brush
*Tourmaline is also given to celebrate the eighth wedding anniversary*