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October Birthstone – Here’s What You Need to Know

October birthstone guide

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The month of October has two birthstones: opal and tourmaline. If you’re an October baby, you are truly lucky because you can choose between two stones of spectacular colors to commemorate your birthday.

October gems offer a full range of different color stones to accommodate everybody’s personal style and taste – tourmaline coming in a variety of shades and opal plays with shifting rainbow colors in one stone.

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In this article, we’ll find out more about these two beautiful gemstones, their properties, symbolism, and jewelry.

Opal and Tourmaline Jewelry

October gems are said to bring hope, confidence, and love to the wearer. Receiving a piece of jewelry that features opal or tourmaline would be an ideal gift for someone who’s born in this month, perfectly capturing your wishes for their future. And since both gems come in various colors or color combinations, you can even match the piece with shades of autumn.

October Birthstone Rings

Opal tourmaline ring

Opal and tourmaline ring by Azura Jewelry NYC. See it here.

If you’re looking for a way to commemorate your 14th or 8th wedding anniversary, getting a beautiful opal or tourmaline ring would be a perfect gift for your significant other.

You can play with colors and surprise your special someone with this stunningly shimmering Oval Opal and Diamond Accent Birthstone Ring or this Infinity Knot Ring featuring a beautiful pink tourmaline.

If you opt for an opal ring, it will need special love and care since opals are softer gems prone to cracking and chipping.

You could also opt for a ring that showcases both opal and tourmaline, giving you the clarity and brilliance of tourmaline coupled with the sheen and flashes of color of opal.

October Birthstone Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings

Earrings opal

Opal earrings by Adita Gold. See it here.

Ladies born in October, who want something a bit more eclectic but elegant at the same time, would welcome this cute boho-style Ophelia Opal Choker Necklace or this Pink Tourmaline Infinity Necklace with elegant design.

You can always be creative and pair these up with a matching bracelet or earrings. For example, the opal necklace would go beautifully with these White Oval Stud Earrings. You can style the pink tourmaline necklace with a similar bracelet, such as this matching Infinity Bracelet or this white gold one with petite gems.

October Birthstones Pendants

Pink tourmaline pendant

Pink tourmaline pendant by Sophie Jane Jewels. See it here.

If you’re looking for a statement piece of jewelry to mark a long friendship or relationship, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, you can choose from a wide array of October gems pendants.

You can never go wrong with a priceless Paraiba Tourmaline Pendant in a bright and lovely blue hue or this sophisticated and stunning Sunburst Opal charm.

Opal and Tourmaline – Everything You Need to Know

What Is Opal?

Opal ring

Opal ring by Silverstone Women. See it here.

The word opal comes from the Greek term opallios, which can be translated as seeing the change of color. Others believe it was derived from the Sanskrit word for precious stone, upala.

Opals are well-loved around the world for the so-called play-of-color phenomena, which is its ability to shift different colors and mimic hues of any other gemstone. For this reason, its name, Queen of Gems, is well-deserved.

Most opals on the market come from Australia. Since it was first discovered around 1850, Australia has been producing about 95 percent of opal’s world supply. Today, opals can be found in mines worldwide, including Mexico, Brazil, Ethiopia, as well as Nevada and Idaho in the U.S.

Opal’s Composition

Opal isn’t a mineral but rather a mineraloid without crystal properties. It’s formed from silica deposits carried by seasonal rains underground into parched rock layers of Australia’s Outback. Once the water evaporates, the remained silica creates opal.

Opal gemstones contain a variable amount of water, from three to 30 percent. The amazing flashes of color and color combinations in this gemstone are created by its silica spheres and the stone’s humidity.

Opal’s Hardness

Opal is a relatively soft, brittle, and fragile stone, prone to breaking and scratching. Depending on the stone, opal can score anywhere between 2-6 on the Mohs scale of hardness.

For this reason, opal isn’t the best option for rings, but rather earrings, brooches, and pendants because these jewelry items usually don’t have a lot of impact during wear.

Opal’s Durability

Since opals can contain up to 30 percent of water, they can easily break if soaked in any liquid, water or oil based. High temperatures, sudden temperature changes, as well as low humidity can also have a harmful impact on this gemstone, causing fracture lines and crazing in its structure and resulting in cracking of the stone.

Opal’s Color

There are dozens of different opal varieties, grouped into two main categories: precious opals, displaying various rainbow colors or the so-called play-of-colors, and common opals, without color flash property.

Precious opal is usually either white or black, depending on its background color. These stones are lovely and can look almost surreal with their flashes of different shades of green, red, and orange, all in one single gemstone. Some precious opals with a white base can also be opalescent with a pearly luster.

The most valuable opals are called Fire Opals, known for their intense, fiery yellow, orange and red hues; and Boulder Opals, which have a host rock attached with natural thin patches and seams. Common opals are far less valuable.

Opal’s Patterns

Opal’s play-of-color can occur in a variety of patterns, such as:

  • Pinpoint or pinfire pattern – tiny patches of color are closely set;
  • Flame pattern – large reddish, orange, or green streaks or flames glide acrossthe gem when it’s moved;
  • Mosaic or harlequin pattern – a grid pattern with large diamond-shaped patches of color closely set;
  • Peacock tail – densely set blue and green patches of color that can be streaky or blotchy.

The most valuable gems are those with bright and clear colors regardless of the pattern. However, jewelers always prefer larger patches of play-of-color rather than smaller scattered dots. Dead spots, negative black space without any color, can also decrease the value of the gem.

Opal’s Clarity

Opals can be completely transparent or opaque. For different opal types, different levels of clarity are desired. The most valuable are the completely transparent crystal opals as well as black opals with an opaque background. For the perfect display of play-of-colors, opal’s background needs to be appropriate.

Milky or cloudy opals are considered less attractive and are lower in value. Likewise, any inclusions, such as matrix, tiny pits, fractures, and other impurities, negatively affect a gem’s value.

What Is Tourmaline?

Tourmaline ring

Tourmaline ring by Song Yee Designs. See it here.

Tourmaline is unquestionably one of the most popular gemstones worldwide, as it’s available in almost every color of the rainbow to suit every mood and style preference. Its name is derived from the two Sinhalese words tura mali, meaning stone of mixed colors. Most of today’s tourmaline is mined in Brazil as well as California, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and some African countries, including Mozambique and Madagascar.

Tourmaline’s Composition

A large group of crystalline boron silicate minerals is called tourmaline, sharing the same physical properties and crystal structure but vary in chemical composition. It can be composed of various elements such as iron, aluminum, potassium, lithium, sodium, or magnesium, all responsible for a jewel’s specific color.

Tourmaline’s Hardness

Measuring 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, tourmaline is a much harder and tougher gem than opal. Additionally, it doesn’t have any cleavage in its structure, making it resistant to cracking.

Tourmaline’s Durability

Although tourmaline is a relatively stable mineral, extreme heat can lead to discoloration of the gem. Generally, this October jewel is fairly durable and suitable for all kinds of jewelry, including rings. However, you should wear it with care, store it, and clean it properly to avoid cracking and chipping.

Tourmaline’s Color

Tourmaline gained its popularity thanks to the wide range of colors it comes in. You can even find tourmaline gems with two or more colors. Jewelry designers especially appreciate these bicolor and pleochroic gems as they can make for fascinating pieces.

In the jewelry world, tourmaline is called by many different names, depending on its color, and so we have:

  • Rubellite is the name for red tourmaline, getting its color from traces of manganese.
  • Indicolite refers to blue tourmaline, sometimes appearing as bluish-green or purplish-blue, depending on the amount of titanium.
  • Black tourmaline is also known as schorl, with dark shades that come from traces of iron. However, black tourmaline is common and not highly valuable.
  • Dravite refers to tourmaline rich in magnesium, with colors ranging from yellowish-brown to brown.
  • Canary tourmaline is a trademark name for yellow tourmaline.
  • Elbaite is the popular name for a multicolored tourmaline, coming in a wide range of color combinations thanks to its lithium composition.
  • Verdelite and chrome tourmaline are green gems, resembling emerald.
  • Achroite is an exceptionally rare colorless tourmaline.
  • The most-loved duo-colored tourmaline is pink and green variation, appropriately called watermelon tourmaline.
  • And finally, the most valuable tourmaline is called Paraíba tourmaline, a copper-bearing mineral rich in vivid purple or green hues. This variety was recently discovered and is predominantly found in Brazil.

Tourmaline Clarity

Since tourmaline is often found in liquid-rich environments, it’s not uncommon for it to have inclusions that contain gas bubbles or trapped liquid. Sometimes, these inclusions are even considered attractive. When there are many closely set thread cavities parallel to the gem’s length, they form a beautiful cat-eye effect. Some gems need to be treated to enhance their color intensity and clarity, but this often decreases their value.

Tourmaline’s Cut

Tourmaline needs to be properly cut to bring out intense colors and minimize inclusions. This is usually done along the gem’s axis. For this reason, the natural crystalline shape of this gemstone affects the finished cut. There are many elongated non-standard shapes and sizes available.

Symbolic Meaning Behind October Birthstones

When it comes to the symbolism of October gemstones, both opal and tourmaline have been traditionally associated with faithfulness, loyalty, hope, confidence, and purity. Since ancient times, they were thought to possess certain healing powers as well.

Opal’s Symbolic Meaning and Mystic Powers

Many ancient cultures believed the opal was a symbol of assurance and fidelity, love, eroticism, and healing.

Opal has a rich history and lore, with many myths referencing it. During the medieval period, blond-haired maidens believed that wearing opal necklaces would prevent their hair from darkening. Others called this gem the patron of thieves because of its supposed power to make the wearer invisible. In Asia, opals were often associated with hope.

Many believed in its healing properties, especially related to vision, both internal and external, in terms of imagination and eyesight.

Tourmaline’s Symbolic Meaning and Mystic Powers

Thanks to its ability to get electrically charged and attract other particles, many ancients believed in tourmaline’s power to grant enlightenment. To this day, it’s commonly accepted that tourmaline, especially pink tourmaline, is connected to the heart chakra, representing love, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, and hope.

To Wrap Up

If you’re a Scorpio or a Libra born in October, you certainly have two interesting stones to choose from or choose them both. The unique opals and tourmalines offer a broad spectrum of colors and jewelry options, from earrings to rings, to fit everybody’s style and personality.

Treat yourself or surprise your loved one with a gorgeous and timeless piece of October gem jewelry and find love, compassion, and confidence in your favorite stone and color.