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October Birthstones - Opals and Tourmaline

Stunning Opals or magnificent Tourmaline. What incredible gemstones the person born in October is privileged to be able to choose from.

OPAL

The October birthstone is said to have derived its name from the Sanskrit word "upala," meaning "precious stone," and then in ancient Rome, the name evolved to "opalus." Opals are believed to have originated in India, which was the first source of opals introduced to the Western world. The unique characteristic of most opals is their play-of-colour, which is a spectacular display of shifting colours in rainbow hues.

Opals' remarkable play-of-colour has been described as resembling fireworks, galaxies, and volcanoes by various writers. According to Bedouin folklore, opals contained lightning and were thought to fall from the sky during thunderstorms. Ancient Greeks believed that opals bestowed the gift of prophecy and protected against diseases. Europeans regarded opals as a symbol of hope, purity, and truth for centuries. In the past, opals were believed to possess the virtues and powers of all coloured stones.

Opal is also the stone given to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary.

TOURMALINE

Tourmaline, the more modern October birthstone, gets its name from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means “stone with mixed colours,” due to the crystal's tendency to display multiple hues. With an impressive variety of colours, few gems can match the striking appearance of tourmaline. Ancient mystics believed this birthstone could inspire artistic expression, as it offers a colour palette for every mood. Some popular varieties of tourmaline include the pink and red rubellites, the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, and the neon green and blue-to-violet “paraíba” tourmalines.

Due to its range of colours, tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones throughout history. For example, one of the “rubies” in the Russian crown jewels, the “Caesar’s Ruby” pendant, is actually red (rubellite) tourmaline. Similarly, a Spanish conquistador mistook green tourmaline crystals in Brazil for emeralds in the 1500s. Such cases of mistaken identity persisted for centuries until scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species in the 1800s.

Each colour of tourmaline is believed to have its own healing properties. Black tourmaline is thought to provide protection and confidence to the wearer, while pink tourmaline embodies love and is associated with compassion and gentleness. Green tourmaline is said to promote courage, strength, and stamina. Tourmaline is often given as a gift to celebrate the eighth wedding anniversary.

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