October Birthstones: Opal & Tourmaline
Birthstone jewelry is an incredibly popular option for birthday gifts. Plus, many people enjoy treating themselves to the occasional piece of birthstone jewelry. It’s common to feel a special connection to your birth month’s gemstone, making wearing it particularly meaningful.
Every month has at least one birthstone associated with it. If you are wondering what the October birthstone is, here’s what you need to know.
What Is the October Birthstone?
Like many other months, there isn’t a single October stone. Instead, there are two.
Both opal and tourmaline are October birthstones. The opal birthstone is the one most people associate with October. It’s definitely the most widely known, and it is more commonly sought after for birthstone jewelry, either as a personal treat or for a gift.
While the tourmaline birthstone isn’t as widely known, that doesn’t mean it isn’t popular. It’s a beautiful gem, so it also makes its way into a variety of jewelry pieces. But, since it isn’t as highly sought after and isn’t exceedingly rare, it remains affordable.
As for the October birthstone meaning, the stone itself matters. For opal, some believe that it can spark creativity or that it brings joy. Some consider it to be a harmonizing stone, while others view it as hopeful.
When it comes to tourmaline, specific belief systems think it offers protection or can assist with cleansing. However, at times, people feel that the color of the tourmaline alters the meaning, allowing different pieces to be associated with grounding, compassion, relaxation, and more.
However, as with any gem, it’s important to keep in mind that any claims about meaning or healing are predominately unproven. There isn’t any hard, scientific evidence that possessing, holding, wearing, or meditating with any stone is going to improve health or treat a medical condition. Stones shouldn’t be used in place of proven treatments. However, wearing stones usually doesn’t pose any risk, so if it makes you feel better to have one, there’s probably no harm in it.
What Is the October Birthstone Color?
When it comes to the October birthstone color, things get a bit tricky. First, opals rarely look like a single color. In fact, the word “opal” is derived from “opallis,” a Greek word that means “to see a change in color.”
Opals often exhibit a rainbow of hues. With white opals, it can be fairly subtle, mainly displaying a range of pastels, like pink, lilac, aqua, and mint. Black opals can be incredibly vibrant, featuring sapphire, ruby, tangerine, lemon, and other bright hues. And that’s just examples from two kinds of opal.
Now, it is true that not all opals feature the “play-of-color.” “Common” opals don’t, though these aren’t the ones people usually seek out for birthstone jewelry. Instead, they look for “precious” opals, allowing them to get pieces with the various dancing colors.
When it comes to figuring out the October birthstone color, the situation doesn’t get any more straightforward when you look at tourmaline. You can find tourmaline in a rainbow of colors, too, including, but not limited to, red, blue, purple, black, yellow, and green.
There are also tourmaline pieces that have more than one color. For example, watermelon tourmaline features layers of forest green and raspberry, to shades on nearly opposite ends of the spectrum.
October Birthstone Jewelry
October gemstone jewelry is readily available, particularly if you want an opal. Everything from specialty jewelers to chain stores to small designers may have opal jewelry available.
Opals range in price, so it is possible to find lower-cost, genuine opals. However, black (or darker body) opals can be more expensive, as they are considered more valuable.
Tourmaline birthstone jewelry isn’t as widely available as opal, but you can still find it pretty easily. It’s less likely to be available at major chain stores. Still, it is a favorite with many smaller designers, making it simple to track down.
If you’re looking for an October birthstone necklace, you’ll find a wide range of pendants featuring both of the October gemstones. Opal cabochons are incredibly popular for pendants, as well as October birthstone earrings and rings, and often very easy to find.
For tourmaline, you may find cut stones or cabochons, both of which can be incredibly beautiful. They may show up in pendants, rings, or earrings.
It is possible to find beaded strand necklaces or bracelets that feature each stone. Just be aware that – if you’re looking for opal beads – not everything advertised as having them is genuine. Many feature lookalikes in place of real opal beads, though reference “opal beads” in the product’s title or description. Just make sure to shop with care if you want to get the real deal.
Stones Similar to October Birthstones
When it comes to stones that are similar to October birthstones, you do have some options. Opals are fairly unique, so they are harder to find substitutes for in many cases. Tourmaline is on the other end of the spectrum, having a slew of stones that may work in its place.
For opals, it depends on the color you want to find. If you’re looking for an alternative to classic light or white opals, you may want to take a look at moonstone, as both can have rainbow-like coloring. If you’re looking for a stand-in for a pink opal, certain pieces of lepidolite might work.
Lab-created opals can be a more affordable alternative to the genuine article, particularly if you want a rarer color. They have the same composition; they just didn’t occur naturally. Opaline glass – at times called mermaid glass - can also have some of the characteristics of opals, though often isn’t the best substitute.
For tourmaline, its variety of colors means a wide range of gemstones could be substitutes. Emerald, peridot, spinel, ruby, topaz, sapphire, zircon, and many more stones could all be stand-ins, though some would cost more than getting the genuine article.