October comes with a choice of two unique gemstones with mesmerizing appearances, notable colors, and rich symbolism and meaning. Opal and pink tourmaline are the birthstones for those born in this month, but also for the ones who want to leave an impression. Apart from radiating a spectrum of colors, both gems are also believed to have some incredible mystical powers.
As an October birthstone, Opal dates to at least the 15th century, making it the traditional birthstone. On the other hand, the tourmaline is the modern birthstone as it was appointed as an October birthstone in the early 1900s. Both stones carry an incredible history, myths, and legends that we are about to discover.
- 1 Opal – The traditional October birthstone
- 2 History and Symbolism
- 3 Metaphysical Powers
- 4 Opal Origin and Sources
- 5 Opal’s Colors
- 6 How to Take Care of Your Opal
- 7 Pink Tourmaline – The modern October birthstone
- 8 History and Symbolism
- 9 Tourmaline Metaphysical Properties
- 10 Tourmaline Origin and Sources
- 11 How to Take Care of Your Tourmaline
- 12 FAQ
Opal – The traditional October birthstone
The opal birthstone, with its one-of-a-kind color, is unlike any other gem. This stone’s shifting play of kaleidoscopic colors is known as the phenomenon called “play of color.” There are colored flashes in blue, green, orange, or red hues displayed throughout the stone, which is why you’ll not find two opals that are exactly the same.
It is believed to have originated in India, and they were the first to introduce the stone to the Western world. In Sanskrit, India’s ancient and classical language, opal was referred to as “upala,” which literally means “precious stone.” On the other hand, the Greek word “opallios” is another variation of the word “opal,” and translated means “seeing a change of color.” Finally, the Latin word “opalus,” meaning “precious jewel,” is how in Ancient Rome, the October birthstone was named.
History and Symbolism
Due to the October birthstone play-of-color effect, in the past, Bedouins and Arabs believed the gem used to fall to earth from the sky when lightning strikes occurred. On the other hand, Ancient Greeks were convinced the opal bestowed the gift of prophecy and could protect them from illnesses and diseases.
In Ancient Rome, the opal was also called the “Cupid Stone” as it was associated with hope and love. Ancient Romans believed the stone would bring them good fortune and promote romance and passion. Nowadays, traditionally opal is given to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary.
The October birthstone opal was a synonym for purity, hope, and truth for Europeans. But, again, due to the stone’s “play of color” phenomenon, they also believed the gem had the power to bend light and render its wearer invisible. Although from today’s perspective, we might find it funny that they believed such power could even exist, people tended to get pretty concerned back then. They feared thieves could take advantage of such opal’s magical power and use it to help them get better at stealing.
Opal’s shifting play of color led to its connection with the sky, stars, and lighting, but also many cultures believed the stone granted its owner confidence and self-belief. It is said that by wearing opal, one will be able to express their true personality.
Today, the October birthstone is worn as a talisman as legends say it can ward off evil but also help people open their minds and boost their intuition. Moreover, it is said that if you keep your opal close to you or see it in your dreams, it will bring you tremendous luck. Also, as a result of the shimmering transparency of the gem, they are worn to encourage creativity and inspire artistic expression.
Finally, there is the belief that remained from hundreds of years ago that opal holds and embodies the powers of all gemstones due to its play of color. Therefore, today people adore and wear opals, believing it has all the powers that other colorful stones have. Hence, it can heal, protect, attract love, promote abundance, and initiate spiritual growth.
Opal Origin and Sources
Some records show opal may have been discovered in areas of Northern Africa in 4000 B.C. Moving forward, archives show that opal was found in 1850 in Australia, which remains the largest deposit of the October birthstone in the world.
Australia’s major opal deposits were formed by heavy seasonal rains, which soaked the ground, pushing silica deposits through the earth and down to the crevices in rock layers. So after the water evaporates, is how the opal forms.
As a result, Australia is responsible for 90% of the precious stone supply, but other resources have also been found. Therefore, the October birthstone can also be found in Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, the Czech Republic, Nevada, and Idaho. The famous black opal can be found in Lightning Ridge, a small town in New South Wales known for producing some of the finest black opals.
However, despite the many sources of the gem, untreated natural opal continues to become rare to find as deposits are diminished due to everyone desiring to have a piece of the stone for themselves. Interestingly, in 2008 Nasa discovered opal deposits on Mars, so now the stone carries even greater mystery and beauty. But unfortunately, that doesn’t increase the available resources, at least not yet.
Opal’s one-of-a-kind color is why the October stone is compared to fireworks, volcanoes, lighting, and galaxies. The play of color effect is a result of a huge amount of diversely sized silica spheres. The spheres cause light to refract, which results in rainbow hues when the gem is moved.
Furthermore, opals with a play-of-color effect are referred to in the trade as “precious” opals, while those without or less play-of-color are called “common” or “potch” opals. So naturally, “precious” opal is valued higher than “common” or “potch” opal. However, fire opal, mainly found in Mexico, is the only category of opal gemstones exempt from this type of classification system. And there is one more highly valuable opal, or the boulder opal, due to being found only at one location – Queensland. The gemstone identification is a combination of precious opal mixed with parts of the host rock that the stone was initially formed in.
Finally, wide varieties of opal display different colors and hues, including the famous white opal but also crystal opal, red, purple, and black opal.
How to Take Care of Your Opal
On the Mohs Hardness scale, October’s traditional birthstone ranks 5 to 6.5, meaning other harder gems such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, or sapphires can scratch it. Therefore it is best to store it by itself. When it comes to cleaning and keeping your opal jewelry shining, just use warm water, mild soap, and a soft cloth.
Keep in mind that other severe treatments, excessive heat, and sudden temperature changes can damage the opal birthstone. Especially fragile are opal doublets or triplets, which are fine hand-made slices of opal glued to a base material and covered with a thin dome of clear quartz. Therefore they require extra care and attention.
Pink Tourmaline – The modern October birthstone
The next of the two October birthstones is the pink tourmaline which was set as an alternative for opal by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Although traditionally pink is the accepted color as October’s birthstone, tourmaline comes in a rainbow of colored stones. In fact, this precious gemstone can be found in almost every color.
Tourmaline is a modern and newer October birthstone. Some pink tourmalines instantly charm with clarity as transparent as diamonds! On the other hand, this birthstone is so unique and special that there are even tourmaline crystals that come in two or more colors and are known as “watermelon tourmaline.” In fact, the name “tourmaline” comes from the Sinhalese word “toramalli,” meaning “stone of mixed color.”
History and Symbolism
When it comes to tourmaline’s spectacular variety of colors, very few gems can match it. This is one reason why ancient mystics believed that these precious stones have the power to inspire artistic expression. Besides the most popular pink and red rubellites, there are also the captivating emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, neon green, and stunning blue to violet “paraíba” tourmalines.
However, the dazzling and broad palette of colors caused the birthstone in the past to be often mistaken for other gems. One example is the rubies part of the Russian crown jewels, the “Caesar’s Ruby” pendant, which is actually red “rubellite” tourmaline.
In addition, a Spanish conquistador discovered beautiful green tourmaline crystals in Brazil in the 1500s. But they, too, were confused with emeralds instead of being recognized as tourmaline stones. So this kept occurring in the past until, in the 1800s, scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species.
There is an Egyptian legend related to the rich color variations of this October birthstone. Namely, Egyptians believed the tourmaline acquired its colors by washing through a rainbow on its way up from the earth’s core. For them, the stone symbolized inspiration, and they wore it as protection against evil and dark forces.
Finally, pink tourmaline, one of the most romantic gems, is traditionally given to celebrate love on the eighth wedding anniversary.
Tourmaline Metaphysical Properties
Tourmaline gemstone, due to its different colors, not only has captivated the hearts of everyone but each color was assumed to have its own healing properties.
Starting with the pink tourmaline birthstone, the gem is loved and adored for its romantic and sensual color. It is said to bring balance as it connects with the Heart Chakra. Moreover, this beautiful October birthstone promotes peace, empathy, calmness, healing, and self-understanding. Associated with love and the heart, the gem makes fine jewelry that could be worn to help one find harmony and stability in love.
Black tourmaline is associated with protection and strength. According to the legend, this October birthstone color is a symbol of confidence and power. Therefore, people wore it in order to protect themselves and help them gain self-confidence and believe in themselves.
Finally, there is the green variation of October’s birthstone tourmaline. The green tourmaline promotes courage, inner power, and stamina. Overall besides the mixed colors and meanings, tourmalines, in general, are said to help quiet the mind, offer clarity and attract positive energies, which also makes them a favorite among yoga and meditation lovers.
Tourmaline Origin and Sources
According to the earliest records, the Tourmaline birthstone was discovered in the 16th century in Brazil. However, the discovery wasn’t confirmed until the 19th century. In addition, the second of two October birthstones is primarily mined in Brazil. But tourmaline deposits are also found in Australia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Pakistan, and the United States.
How to Take Care of Your Tourmaline
On the Mohs Hardness scale, October’s modern birthstone ranks 7 to 7.5, which makes your tourmaline birthstone jewelry safe for everyday wear. These multiple colors gems are usually strong enough to withstand light and most chemicals. However, heat can damage your favorite birthstone. Therefore avoid the use of ultrasonic and steam cleaners. Instead, just use warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush to clean and keep the tourmaline’s majestic shimmer.
Why are there 2 birthstones for October?
Those born in October enjoy having two spectacular birthstones to call their own. Opal and tourmaline are the two choices resulting from the market’s need for variety and a less feminine appearance of the birthstone since many saw opal as too fragile when it comes to fine jewelry. So now everyone can pick their birthstone jewelry between the two October birthstones, the modern tourmaline and traditional opal.
What color is the month of October?
For those born in October, birthstones opal and tourmaline offer a wide choice of mixed colors to pick from and make it your favorite color of the month. However, pink would be one of the official month’s colors as pink tourmaline is the official October birthstone. However, if you are not a fan of the pink color, you can still go for white, red, green, white, yellow, purple, black, and any other hue your heart desires.
What is October’s birthstone and flower?
Opal and tourmaline are the birthstones for those born in October. On the other hand, October’s flowers are the warm marigolds and dainty cosmos. Marigold flowers occur in warm golden, orange, yellow, and white colors. They represent the beauty and warmth of the Sun and are believed to offer the power to rebirth. Cosmos occur in many colors, including pink and white. This October flower is respected for its medicinal properties and is used to fight infections, treat skin issues, improve circulation, and much more.