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, read on because you'll uncover the mesmerizing beauty and rich history of October's birthstones, Opal and Tourmaline.
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 as 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 fine jewelry pieces. But, since it isn't as highly sought after and isn't exceedingly rare, it remains affordable.
What does Opal Symbolise?
Opal is a gemstone rich in symbolism and meaning. Here's what opal traditionally symbolizes:
Hope and Purity: Opal has long been considered a stone that brings hope to its wearer. Its radiant play-of-color against a light or dark background gives it an ethereal appearance, often associated with purity and innocence.
Creativity and Inspiration: The myriad of colors present in some opals is believed to inspire creativity and spark the imagination.
Protection: Historically, opal was regarded as a protective stone. Some believed that it could make its wearer invisible in situations of danger.
Love and Passion: The fiery colors and patterns of opal are often linked to emotions, making it a symbol of love, passion, and desire.
Emotional Stability: Some cultures and belief systems consider opal to be a stone that can help stabilize emotions and bring clarity.
Change and Transition: Given its play-of-color, where colors shift and change based on the angle of light, opal is also seen as a symbol of change, transformation, and progress.
However, it's essential to note that the symbolism of opal can vary across cultures and beliefs. While many view the stone positively, there have been superstitions in some cultures that associated opals with bad luck, especially when worn by those not born in October. But such beliefs are less common today, and opals are widely cherished for their beauty and positive attributes.
What does Tourmaline Symbolize?
Tourmaline is a versatile and colorful gemstone that carries various symbolic meanings. Here's what tourmaline traditionally symbolizes:
Protection: Tourmaline is often regarded as a protective stone that can ward off negative energies and harmful intentions. Some believe it acts as a shield against environmental pollutants and electromagnetic radiation.
Balance: Given its variety of colors, tourmaline is seen as a symbol of balance, representing harmony between opposing forces. It's believed to balance the mind, emotions, and chakras.
Transformation and Healing: Tourmaline is thought to aid in personal growth and transformation. It's considered a healing stone that can help address physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments.
Grounding: Black tourmaline, in particular, is associated with grounding energies. It's believed to connect the human spirit with the Earth, providing stability and a sense of being anchored.
Compassion and Tolerance: The diverse range of colors in tourmaline is symbolic of the variety and inclusivity of humanity. It's seen as a stone that promotes understanding, compassion, and tolerance.
Inspiration and Creativity: Some believe that tourmaline can inspire creativity and enhance one's ability to think and solve problems.
Mental Clarity: Tourmaline is also associated with clarity of thought, helping to dispel confusion and enhance cognitive abilities.
The specific symbolism can also vary based on the color of the tourmaline. For instance, pink tourmaline is often linked to love and emotions, while green tourmaline is associated with vitality and growth. Regardless of its color, tourmaline is a precious jewel cherished for its beauty and the positive energies it's believed to bring to its wearer.
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 natural 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 neon 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 stone 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. , peridot, spinel, ruby, topaz, sapphire, zircon, and many more colored stones could all be stand-ins, though some would cost more than getting the genuine article.
Frequently Asked Questions about October Birthstones
Why does October have 2 birthstones?
The tradition of associating specific gemstones with particular months dates back centuries, and over time, various cultures and societies have had different interpretations and beliefs. The modern list of birthstones, as we know it today, was standardized in 1912 by the American National Retail Jewelers Association. The inclusion of the multiple colors of birthstones for certain months, like October, can be attributed to these historical variations and the desire to offer a broader range of gem choices for individuals born in those months. Both opal and tourmaline are cherished for their beauty and distinct characteristics, making them popular choices for October-born individuals.
What is the original birthstone for October?
The original birthstone for October is the opal. Historically, opal has been associated with October for centuries across various cultures and traditions. Its mesmerizing play-of-color and unique patterns have made it a favorite for those born in this month. While tourmaline is also recognized as an October birthstone in modern times, opal is traditionally considered the primary gemstone for October.
What is October's Colour?
October is often associated with the color orange due to the changing leaves of autumn in many parts of the world, especially in temperate regions where fall foliage is prominent. Additionally, the color orange is symbolic of Halloween, a significant holiday celebrated at the end of October. However, it's worth noting that October doesn't have an official color, but orange is commonly linked with the month because of these associations.
What is Libra's birthstone?
Libra is the zodiac sign for those born between September 23 and October 22. The primary birthstone for Libra is the opal. Given that opal is also the traditional birthstone for the month of October, it aligns well with the Libra zodiac sign. Some also associate tourmaline with Libra due to its recognition as an October birthstone. Both these gemstones are believed to resonate with Libra's balanced and harmonious nature.
How can I differentiate between a genuine gemstone and a synthetic one?
Differentiating between genuine and synthetic gemstones often requires a keen eye, specialized equipment, and knowledge about the specific gemstone's properties. While some synthetic stones can closely resemble their natural counterparts, there might be differences in inclusions, color patterns, and other physical characteristics. It's always a good idea to consult with a certified gemologist or purchase from reputable dealers.
What are the best practices for maintaining and cleaning gemstone jewelry?
Maintaining gemstone jewelry involves regular cleaning and proper storage. For cleaning, it's essential to know the hardness and specific properties of the gemstone. While some stones can be safely cleaned with mild soap and water, others might require specialized cleaning methods. Always avoid harsh chemicals and ensure the jewelry is dried thoroughly. Store gemstone jewelry separately to prevent scratches and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight.
Are there ethical concerns associated with purchasing certain gemstones?
Yes, the mining of certain gemstones can be associated with environmental degradation, unfair labor practices, and other ethical concerns. It's crucial for consumers to be aware of the origins of their gemstones and support companies that adhere to ethical and sustainable mining practices. Certifications and traceability initiatives can provide insights into the ethical sourcing of gemstones.