October Birthstones Opal & Tourmaline

What is the Birthstone for October?

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To skip the info stuff and jump to read fun facts and see shiny things, go straight to here for Opal and here for Tourmaline 🙂 

What is the Birthstone for October?

October Birthstones Opal and Tourmaline

October has two birthstones, opal and tourmaline.

Two stunning gemstones showing off the colours of the rainbow. 

By the Way...

The October Birth Colours are White and Yellow

October birth colours white and yellow

And the October Birth Flowers are Marigold and Cosmos

Don't forget

October's birthstones opal and tourmaline can be gifted on all special occasions not just on birthdays; Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, engagements, weddings, anniversaries and many more.

Let's Start with October Birthstone Opal

The October birthstone opal, a magnificent gemstone whose shades encompass virtually every hue in the colour spectrum. The play of colour is different on every stone, and its sparkling hues give rise to the word opalescent.

Opals are delightful and unique gemstones making opal jewellery very popular among collectors and fashion enthusiasts.

There is no other stone that has the mystery of the opal. People are drawn in by its fiery colours and magnificent spectrum. 

Every opal is different. There are no two stones the same. Every opal stone reflects the light differently depending on its depth and personal characteristics. 

The name Opal originates from the Greek  Opallios meaning to see a change in colour. 

The October birthstone opal has many colours, simulating the shades of all gems.

The Roman scholar Pliny wrote about the opal calling it opalus. 

How are Opals Formed?

Opals are formed from silicon dioxide and water.

Silica is found within the earth’s sandstone which is collected when water runs down through the earth.

The newly formed silicon-water solution runs into cracks and voids. As the water evaporates, a silica deposit is left behind.

October Birthstone Opal Cut

This cycle is repeated over and over until through time opals are formed.

Where are Opals Found?

The opal is a native gem of Australia.

It was discovered in 1850 where the mining of the majority of the world’s opals then began.

Today, over 90% of the world’s opals come from Australia.

Opals are also mined in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Ethiopia, USA, and the Czech Republic.

Are Opals Heat-Treated?

Many opals are sold in their natural state, however, treatments including heat-treatment are often applied to the gemstones to strengthen and enhance the colours of the opal.

What Colour are Opals?

Scientists discovered the Opal’s ability to be able to show the various colours of the rainbow was down to it being made of microscopic silica spheres which diffract light.

Only precious Opals can show the sphere of colours. 

When an opal is moved and the light source changes angles, the play of colours is made of shimmering yellows, oranges, greens, blues, reds, and purples. 

Opals with a black or dark background are usually more valuable than those with lighter backgrounds.

There are many different types of Opal, however, only the Fire and Boulder Opal have been officially recognized.

How much is an Opal Worth per Carat?

The quality of the cut, polish, size of the stone, type of opal, pattern, brilliance, and colour play an important role when determining the value of the opal.

Once these factors have been determined the size will then determine the price of opal.

Do Opals Scratch Easily?

Opals score 5.5 – 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale meaning they are not very hard and crack easily not only under heavy working conditions but also under extremes in weather conditions or changing temperatures.

Opals are quite porous and will break if they are not looked after properly.

Always avoid knocks on hard surfaces.

Jewellers often keep opals in a damp cloth or cotton wool to protect them from cracking.

How do I Clean my Opal Jewellery?

Clean your October birthstone in very mild soapy water and a soft toothbrush. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.

Never use an ultrasonic cleaner on your opal jewellery.

Can an Opal be used in an Engagement Ring?

Engagement rings with opals are popular, however, wearing an opal every day as an engagement ring as is expected to be worn, can prove to be tricky.

You must take more care of your opal engagement ring than most other precious gemstone engagement rings.

You must avoid hard knocks, chemicals, and heavy manual work whilst wearing your opal engagement ring.

Think very carefully before choosing this beautiful October birthstone in your engagement ring.

Men and women throughout time have been fascinated and captured by the iridescent colours of opal jewellery. Despite the myths of bringing good or bad luck, these multi-coloured gems are worthy additions to any wardrobe. A person can`t be blamed for thinking that wearing an opal necklace, earrings, bracelet or ring is somehow just like having a piece of the rainbow close to the skin.

Fun Facts, Myths and Legends

Opals are believed to bring good luck.

Arab legends tell of Opals falling from the sky as bolts of lightning. 

The Aborigines of Australia believe the Creator came to earth on a rainbow with Opals dropping to the earth at his feet as he walked.

Sir Walter Scott wrote in his 1829 Anne of Geierstein: or The Maiden of the Mist about an opal bringing bad luck upon an enchanted princess. This caused the European opal market to crash.

The opal retained its name for bringing bad luck for almost 50 years.

This run of bad luck for the opal industry was only broken after a Black Opal was found in 1877.

In Asia opals symbolize hope.

In Medieval times blonde women wore opals to prevent their fair hair darkening.

The opal was believed to cure illnesses of the eyes.

The Grand Central Terminal in NYC has a clock with four faces made of opal. The estimated worth is $10-20 million. 

NYC Grand Central Terminal Clock

Ingfbruno / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The opal symbolizes the 34th wedding anniversary.

The chemical formula for opal is SiO₂·nH₂O.

The Zodiac Stones for October are Chrysolite for Libra and Beryl for Skorpio.

Find a list of all birthstones and birth months here

October’s birthstones opal and tourmaline can be gifted on all special occasions not just on birthdays; Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, engagements, weddings, anniversaries and many more.

All birthstone months can be found here.

October birthstone Opal, A Few Ideas For You

Opal Birthstone Rings

Opal Birthstone Necklaces

Opal Birthstone Earrings

Opal Birthstone Bracelets

October Birthstone Tourmaline

The October birthstone Tourmaline uncut as seen below, looks like frozen rhubarb.

It’s very beautiful and colourful once it has been cut into gemstones.

October Birthstone Tourmaline Rock

How is Tourmaline Formed?

Tourmaline is formed deep under the Earth’s surface in voids known as pegmatites.

These voids are filled with hot liquid, rich in minerals.

The liquid forms tourmaline crystals as it cools.

The rock surrounding the voids is usually granite or sometimes marble.

Where is Tourmaline Found?

The main tourmaline deposits are found in Brazil, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

Other countries mining smaller deposits of tourmaline are Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Malawi. 

October’s birthstone Tourmaline is mined in so many places, however,  a gem with high-quality colouring is a rare find.

Is Tourmaline Heat-Treated?

Some tourmaline is heat-treated to produce a lighter green colour.

What Colour is Tourmaline?

The tourmaline crystal looks like frozen rhubarb.

Tourmaline is a mixture of different minerals making a group of different varieties.

The chemical properties make the stunning colour palette. The colours range from black, brown, red, green, purple, and colourless. 

Colourless tourmaline is rare.

Each of the colours is a stand-alone variety of tourmaline.

The most common colours are Chrome (green), Cats-Eye (brown-striped), Paraiba (neon blue), Schorl (black), Dravite (yellow-brown) and Watermelon (green and pink).

Does Tourmaline Scratch Easily?

Tourmaline scores 7.0 – 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale which is a fair score.

Although tourmaline is not too sensitive when exposed to chemicals it can be damaged by heat or a sudden temperature change which can cause fractures.

How do I Clean my Tourmaline Jewellery?

Clean your tourmaline birthstone jewellery with lukewarm soapy water, rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaners on your tourmaline jewellery.

How much is Tourmaline Worth per Carat?

Tourmaline is not too rare and therefore the prices keep quite reasonable and affordable. However, the larger the gemstone combined with rare colours, the higher the price.

Pure blues and red are rare colours, the rarest and most expensive is a paraiba tourmaline.

Colours and country of origin plays a large part in the price of tourmaline as do clarity, cut and size.

The weight determins the carat which then determines the end price. 

Can a Tourmaline be used in an engagement Ring?

October birthstone tourmaline is a beautiful and exceptional choice for an engagement ring.

Take extra care to avoid knocks on hard surfaces and temperature shocks.

Take more care than with the usual more common gemstones used in  engagement rings and you will have years of lasting joy with this amazing choice of gemstone. 

Fun Facts, Myths and Legends

The October birthstone tourmaline takes its name from the Sinhalese word tura mali meaning stone of mixed colours.

Tourmaline was used by Ancient magicians as a talisman to ward off negative energy.

Tourmaline is believed by some to bring calm when under pressure and reinforce positive thoughts and emotions.

Tourmaline is thought to help battle anger and jealousy instead promotes feelings of peace and tranquillity.

The Ancient Egyptians believed tourmaline passed through a rainbow when it travelled from the centre of the earth to reach the surface, taking on all the colours.

A Rainbow over a field

Tourmaline is often referred to as the gemstone of the rainbow.

The simple chemical formula for tourmaline is (Na, Ca)(Mg, Li, Al, Fe2+)3Al6(BO3)3Si6O18(OH)4

The 8th wedding anniversary is represented by the tourmaline.

October Birthstone Tourmaline, A Few Ideas For You

Tourmaline Birthstone Rings

Tourmaline Necklaces

Tourmaline Earrings

Tourmaline Bracelets