A sweet escape from the scorching heat of summer, October ushers in colorful foliage, brisk temperatures, and cozy nights. If you were born in October, or are shopping for someone who was, you might be curious which birthstone represents the spookiest month of the year.
If so, you’re in luck. In this post, we’ll discuss the two stunning birthstones associated with level-headed Libras and mysterious Scorpios so that you can find which gemstone from Diamond Nexus best strikes your fancy.
Opal Meaning and History
It’s widely believed that opals were first discovered in India where they were called, “Upala,” a Sanskrit word translating to, “precious stone.” Over time, other cultures like that of ancient Rome referred to the stone as, “Opalus.”
The opal gemstone has been coveted throughout history due to its color-shifting abilities – a rare occurrence referred to as, “play-of-color.” The opal’s dramatic hues have inspired people to compare the stone to galaxies, fireworks, and volcanoes amongst other dazzling displays. The Gemological Institue of America(GIA) recalled the following, “Bedouins once believed opal held lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. 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.”
In addition to being the traditional October birthstone, opal jewelry bracelets and pendants are also a traditional 14th wedding anniversary gift.
Where Are Opals Found?
White opal can be found throughout the world, however, Australia is one of the most prominent suppliers of the October birthstone. Aside from Down Under, opals are also found in places such as Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, Central Europe, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Peru, Turkey, and the U.S.
While white opal is the most common variety of opal, the gem is available in a wide selection of hues. Lightning Ridge, a town in New South Wales, AU is home to the famous black opal, one of the rarest known gemstones. While Mexico’s Querétero is famous for something referred to as “fire opal” a stunning variety of natural opal that displays a unique yellow-orange/reddish play-of-color.
How to Care for Opal
Opal gemstones are relatively soft ranking between 5 and 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Similar to other precious stones, opal is best cared for using a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. Harsher cleaning methods can damage the stone and are best avoided.
Additionally, opal birthstone jewelry should be stored away from other pieces to avoid any damage or scratching. Stronger stones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are especially common culprits when it comes to damaging softer gems.
Tourmaline Gemstone Meaning and History
The modern October birthstone is Tourmaline a captivating multi-colored stone beloved for its variety of hues. The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word, “toramalli,” which translates to, “stone with mixed colors.” Pink, red, emerald, neon green, blue, and violet, there’s a shade of tourmaline to fit every occasion.
Considering the gem’s bright pallet, it’s no surprise that ancient mystics believed that the stone could aid in sparking artistic expression. What’s more, different colors of tourmaline are believed to improve life for the wearer. For example, black tourmaline offers protection and increased self-confidence. Pink tourmaline assists in matters of love and compassion. While green tourmaline is said to support courage, stamina, and strength.
In addition to being a modern birthstone, tourmaline is the modern eight wedding anniversary gift.
It wasn’t until the 1800s that scientists declared tourmaline as a distinct mineral species. Because of this, tourmaline has been mistaken for other gems such as ruby and emerald throughout history. In fact, Caesar’s Ruby featured in the Russian crown jewels is actually rubellite(red) tourmaline.
Where Is Tourmaline Found?
Tourmaline is commonly found in Brazil, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique. The stone can also be found in California and Maine in the United States.
Similar to precious opal, tourmaline’s beautiful color greatly depends upon where it was sourced. For example, the tourmaline that originates from Brazil is famous for vibrant green, blue, and violet coloring caused by trace amounts of copper. Similar copper-bearing tourmaline was found in Mozambique and Nigeria, however, stones sourced from Brazil are considered more valuable due to their higher color saturation.
How to Care for Tourmaline
Slightly stronger than the opal gem, tourmaline rates between 7 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. With proper care, tourmaline can be suitable for everyday wear. To clean your tourmaline jewelry or rings simply soak the piece in a solution made of warm water and mild dish soap. Any stubborn debris can then be removed using a soft-bristle toothbrush.
How to Wear October’s Birthstone
Whether mysterious opal or colorful tourmaline has caught your eye, there are endless ways to adorn yourself with October birthstone jewelry. For some lowkey bling opt for a simplistic bracelet or a pair of stud earrings. Alternatively, create a custom charm bracelet complete with your zodiac sign and birthstone of choice.
If it’s a traditional birthstone ring that you covet, be mindful of each stone and its ranking on the Mohs scale. As mentioned above, common opal is on the softer side which means that it is more susceptible to damage from everyday wear and tear than harder gems. Tourmaline, however, is slightly stronger and could be worn in an engagement or wedding ring setting if treated with proper care. That means being mindful to remove the piece when participating in strenuous activities such as working out and cleaning around the home.