Another month, another birthstone – or in October’s case we have 2! Opal and Tourmaline. These are 2 of the most colorful stones created naturally. According to legend these gems were created through rainbows with the opal coming from the sky and tourmaline through a rainbow in the earth’s core.

OPAL

The name Opal is derived from the Greek word opallios which means “to see a change in color”. Named rightly so, these stones come in an array of colors and have a unique iridescent quality not seen many places in nature. Opals are created when rain water containing silica deposits trickle down through rocks. When the water evaporates it leaves the silica deposits behind and opals are formed. 95% of the world’s opals are mined in Australia.opal

Famous Opals

  • “Olympus Australis” named for the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956 that were happening when and where this stone was discovered. This behemoth is 11” long and 17000 carats (7.6lbs). In 2005 it was appraised for 2.5 million dollars.

  • “Aurora Australis” was dug from an old sea bed and has a starfish impression on the back side. The most valuable black opal, this stone was named for the southern lights in the night sky.

TOURMALINE

Tourmaline is another beautiful stone that is found in an array of colors. This stone is named from the Sinhalese word tura mali which translates to “stone of mixed colors”. Tourmaline gems were often confused for other stones. In 1500 a Spanish conquistador thought the stone was an emerald and this wasn’t corrected until the 1800’s when the tourmaline became its own species. The majority of tourmaline is mined in the Himalayas, but there are many mines around the world including the United States.

Fun Facts about Tourmaline

  • Tourmaline can be electrically charged through a balance of heat and pressure. This causes the stone to either attract or repel dust. Because of this phenomenon ancient magicians used tourmaline as a talisman against evil.
  • Tourmaline stones can come in segmented colors in the same stone. This is caused by changing conditions in the earth through growth. These are defined as “zoned crystals”

 

Happy Birthday to all our jewelry lovers born in October! Want to design a custom birthstone accessory? Contact us today!

 

Famous Opals. Opals Down Under. http://www.opalsdownunder.com.au/learn-about-opals/introductory/famous-opals

King, Hobart M. Tourmaline: Earth’s Most Colorful Mineral and Gem Mineral. Geology.com. https://geology.com/minerals/tourmaline.shtml

October Birthstones. American Gem Society. https://www.americangemsociety.org/page/octoberbirthstones