October is one of the few special months of the year that have two birthstones associated with them: the enchanting tourmaline and the unique opal. Both are stones with folklore associated with rainbows because of their beautiful colors.
Tourmaline is more recently added to the birthstones list but opal has been around for a very long time. Both stones bless the wearers with exceptional powers and are the perfect sentiment for October babies everywhere.
October Birthstone – Tourmaline
Tourmaline Birthstone Meaning and Powers
The origins of the word tourmaline are said to be derived from Sinhalese language as the word “tour” and “mali”, which means stones of mixed colors.
Tourmaline is said to be the stone that brings about peace. It kills all negative emotions like anger, jealousy, sadness, and fear. It is said to induce tranquility in the wearer by ridding him of all negative thoughts.
Tourmaline is also said to enhance the creative skills of the one who wears it. So it is the perfect gift for someone who needs some inspiration.
This stone is also said to repel any negative forces that are lurking nearby. This includes supernatural evil forces and people who have spite in their hearts.
The stone also shields the user from pollutants and environmental toxins, making the air around him or her cleaner.
The different colors of tourmaline are said to have different origin stories behind them, the most common amongst which is the black tourmaline, which is said to protect the user against forces of evil.
Tourmaline Birthstone History
Tourmaline is a stone that was very recently added to the birthstone index. For this reason, it is not as historically rich as most other birthstones are.
One reason for this is that when it was discovered in the 16th century, many people mistook it for an emerald. This mistake carried on until the 19th century, after which tourmaline was given an identity of its own as a separate stone.
In Native America, different variations of tourmaline were often gifted to the family of the deceased as funeral offerings.
The hub of tourmaline trading used to be the Chinese market. When the Chinese economy collapsed, the trade of tourmaline collapsed with it.
It is commonly found in the USA, Africa, Afghanistan, and Brazil.
Tourmaline Birthstone Characteristics
Tourmaline is not one mineral but it is quartz and many different minerals joined together in a complex arrangement. This is why it exists in so many different colors.
There is no single value attached to a tourmaline stone. It can be very cheap and very expensive.
The cut of a tourmaline gem matters the most because it has to be cut very carefully and precisely to preserve the mineral arrangement which results in all the beautiful colors of the gem we see.
The Paraiba variation of tourmaline, which exists in a greenish-blue or purple color, is the rarest and most expensive variation of tourmaline that can be found.
It is a pyroelectric gem, which means that it produces static electricity when it is heated.
Like diamonds and other precious stones, the tourmaline is also valued using the 4Cs.
On the Mohs scale of hardness, tourmaline is a 7-7.5.
Caring for Tourmaline birthstone
Tourmaline crystals can easily be cleaned with mild dish soap, warm water, and a clean cloth.
Black tourmaline is said to be recharged and cleansed when placed on a bed of rock salt under the sun.
Cleaning the crystal using ultrasonic or steam methods is not desirable since it may damage the stone considerable.
Tourmaline is a fairly hard stone but can be chipped and scratched so you must be careful while handling it.
October Birthstone – Opal
Opal Meaning and Powers
There are two stories of origin behind the name of opal. The first story suggests that opal is derived from the word Opallus, which means to bring about change. Another story is that the stone is associated with Ops, the Goddess of fertility.
Opals signify the purity and innocence of the wearer.
Other than that, it is often gifted by people as a sign of hope and faith.
Opals are often known for changing their color because of their pleochroic attribute. This is known to signify a change in the physical and mental health status of the wearer.
Opal is considered to be an extremely lucky stone for people born in October. On the other hand, it is said to bring about extreme bad luck for people who are not born in October.
Physically speaking, opal is said to optimize our immune system and protect the wearer from seasonal cold and flu.
There was a time when opals were said to be the queen of all gems because they contained the colors of all other gems that were known to man.
The Arabic people used to believe that opals were solidified bolts of lightning that had fallen to the ground.
The Australian tribes used to believe that the creator of the opal descended to Earth on a Rainbow and that is how they have the entire spectrum entrapped inside them.
Queen Cleopatra of Egypt is also said to have a magnificent set of opals in her possession. It is said that she adorned this set to seduce Mark Anthony, the Emperor of Rome at the time.
Queen Victoria of England is also said to collect opals since they were so beautiful and so valuable.
There was a time when opals were said to be lucky for everyone who wore it. Then, a story regarding a woman who wore opals was released. According to the story, the opals she wore used to change colors in accordance with her mood. The opals were then extinguished with holy water and soon after, the woman died a tragic death. Because of this story, people started associating the stone with bad luck and the sales of this stone went down drastically.
Currently, Australia is said to have supplied at least 95% of the opals we can find in the world today.
Opals are not formed inside a mineral.
Instead, they are formed when non-crystalline silica gel is said to seep inside the sedimentary strata of minerals that are in the process of formation.
Like human fingerprints and Zebra Stripes, no two opals are said to look exactly the same. They are available in many different colors.
Commonly available opals do not change their color. Rare opals do change their colors and are therefore much more valuable.
The value of an opal is also determined using the 4Cs, a method that is deployed for measuring the value of most other precious gems.
On the Mohs scale of hardness, opals score a 5.5, which make them quite soft and vulnerable to damage.
Caring for Opals
Opals are very soft and fragile and you must handle them with utmost care when cleaning.
The best way to clean opal jewelry is by using warm water, mild soap, and a washcloth. Soaking the gem in water will damage it.
Opals must also never be steam-cleaned or cleaned by ultrasonic methods. You must keep the gem away from harsh chemicals, detergents, and bleach as well.
It can easily be scratched by other jewelry and may also chip if not handled carefully.