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. Learn more about these two October birthstones and discover the perfect gift for those born in the tenth month
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. 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.
Opal may be treated by impregnation with oil, wax or plastic. Opal doublets or triplets are fine slices of opal glued to a base material and covered with a thin dome of clear quartz. The safest way to clean this October birthstone is with warm, soapy water. Other cleaning methods might damage the opal or filler material. Note that prolonged exposure to water may weaken the adhesive in opal doublets and triplets. Even natural opal can fracture if exposed to high heat or sudden temperature changes.
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.
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 “Paraiba” tourmalines.
The tourmaline birthstone is rated 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is generally suitable for everyday wear. These colourful 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 The use of ultrasonic and steam cleaners is not recommended.