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October Birthstones

What is the October Birthstone?

There are two birthstones for October - Opal and Tourmaline.

If you celebrate a birthday in October, you have a choice of two incredibly colorful gemstones, opal, which can contain the complete rainbow in a single stone and tourmaline, which can be found in a wonderful array of bright colors.

October Birthstone - Colors

Opal

There is no doubt that opals are the most diverse of all gemstones.

They are most famous for their play-of-color where red, yellow, blue and green can flash and dance before your eyes in a dazzling display but opals can also be found in single color versions like the vivid orange fire opals and the subtle pink or blue Peruvian opals.

Other versions can have a small amount of intensely colored opal trapped within the hard rock it grew in, giving a dark and dense black or brown background for the contrasting bright colors as in Black and Boulder Opals.

The play-of-color phenomenon is the result of an unusual crystal structure where layers of tiny spherical particals of silica bounce light around breaking white light into any number of colors.

Tourmaline

Tourmalines cover the complete spectrum of colors and can also be found with two or even three colors showing in the same gemstone.

Trace elements of minerals such as chromium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and more are the causes of the wide variety of colors.

Some colors are more popular and more expensive than others. Neon turquoise Paraiba Tourmalines are amongst the most expensive gemstones in the world and the blue Indicolites and red Rubellites are also highly valued.

Green Tourmalines are fairly common and come in very reasonable prices while Chrome Tourmalines which are also green but with a deeper tone are considerably more expensive.

The October Birthstone Price

How expensive is Opal?

Opals can be included in a list of the most expensive gemstones in the world - the Virgin Opal has been valued at a million dollars. As expected the wide variety of opal types means there is a wide variety of prices too.

There are too many factors which go into the price of an opal to describe here but include such things as:

  • The type of opal
  • The intensity and dominant hue in the play of color
  • The pattern of the colors
  • The background tone
  • The source of the gemstone
  • The size

To give you some idea of the range of prices, a Boulder Opal can be between $5 and $300 per carat while a classic Opal Doublet could be anywhere from $10 to $100 per carat depending on the above factors.

Please refer to our full Opal Info page for a more detailed look at the complicated process of evaluating an opal.

How expensive is Tourmaline?

Much like opals, the wide range of colors and their relative rarity means that tourmalines can easily vary from $10,000 per carat for a fine neon blue Pariaba to $20 per carat for a simple but attractive small green tourmaline.

A top quality blue Indicolite can be $1000 per carat while a red Rubellite or a crisp red and green Watermelon Tourmaline could reach $400 per carat. At the other end of the scale the spiritually powerful black tourmalines rarely go much above $5 per carat.

For more details please refer to our full Tourmaline Info page here

What are the spiritual benefits of October Birthstones?

Opal

With their magical appearance it is no wonder that Opals have had many powers and legends granted to them over the centuries. Opals have been given the names 'the Eye Stone' and 'Cupid's Stone' for their physical influence on the health of the eyes and their emotional affects on romance.

Other strengths include:

  • Encouraging Wealth and Good Fortune
  • Allowing Self-expression
  • Bringing Love, Passion, Desire
  • Boosting Creativity and Spontaneity

See our detailed article on Opal meaning and uses

Tourmaline

In Black Tourmaline, we have one of the most powerful protective gemstones around and I always recommend having one nearby. Other colors can be equally influential in different areas:

  • Inspiration and Compassion
  • Flexibility and Strength
  • Calming and Soothing
  • Happiness and Positivity

See our detailed article on Tourmaline meaning and uses

The October Birthstones and the Chakras

Opal

Individual Chakras have assigned colors and a gemstone of the same color can be very beneficial. As Opals can be found in every color - sometimes on a single stone - they are an ideal Chakra stone.

  • Black/Boulder Opals - Root Chakra
  • Fire Opals - Sacral Chakra
  • Mainly Yellow Opals - Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Mainly Green or Pink Opals - Heart Chakra
  • Mainly Blue Opals - Throat Chakra
  • Mainly Violet Opals - Third Eye Chakra
  • White Opals - Crown Chakra

Tourmaline

The Chakras feature seven colors to match the seven energy centers located about the body. Tourmalines can be found in all seven colors and many more so are a perfect stone for unblocking or realigning a Chakra.

Just a few examples include:

  • Black/Red Tourmalines - Root Chakra
  • Pink/Green Tourmalines - Heart Chakra
  • Blue Tourmalines - Throat Chakra
  • Purple Tourmalines - Crown Chakra

Find more details on Chakra gemstones here

The October Birthstones Species

Opal

Where do we begin with Opal species? A simple description of Opal would be to say it is a hydrated silicon dioxide but who would buy one of those?

Due to their unusual crystal structure, Opals most famously show a play-of-color where variety of colors can flash before your eyes. This play-of-color can cover the entire gemstone or just show a few bright flecks here and there, with dark or pale backgrounds. Sometimes the opal is still attached to its host rock - the variations are endless. Some play-of-color opals include:

  • White Opals
  • Black Opals
  • Boulder Opals
  • Matrix Opals
  • Koroit Opals

Other opals can be translucent, opaque, neon or chatoyant and NOT feature the famous play-of-color. These are still stunning gemstones and include:

  • Cat's Eye Opals
  • Fire Opals
  • Hyalite Opals
  • Peruvian Opals

Tourmaline

Tourmalines are usually divided by color or origin, and known by names such as:

  • Indicolite - from the Latin meaning indigo
  • Rubellite - from the Latin meaning reddish
  • Paraiba - first discovered in the Pairaba region of Brazil
  • Watermelon - for its distinctive pink and green colors

It also has quite a few individual species which share a crystal structure but differ in chemical composition and terms not often used when sold as gemstones:

  • Schorl
  • Elbaite
  • Dravite
  • Liddicoatite
  • Uvite

The October Birthstone Treatments

Opal

In general, Opals are not treated in any way other than the cutting and polishing it takes to create a beautiful gemstone.

Black Opals are sometimes 'smoked' in a process to darken the background and improve the contrast between it and the color display.

A very common treatment is the doublets or triplets where a thin sliver of opal material is attached to a backing material (sometimes with a clear cover). This is an accepted practice and never disguised in any way as it allows fragile opal to be available and not discarded.

We will always disclose any treatments.

Tourmaline

As far as we know, Tourmaline is not routinely treated with heat or radiation although the exception could be the Paraiba-like neon blue gemstones from Africa. Bright pinks may be irradiated but it is very difficult to detect.

All treatments our Tourmalines receive will be fully disclosed on our product pages.

The October Birthstones History

Opal

Opals were discovered in a cave in Kenya which could be dated back 6000 years making them amongst our oldest gemstones.

Famous naturalist, Pliny, described them like this over 2000 years ago:

'In them you shall see the living fire of the ruby, the glorious purple of the amethyst, the sea green of the emerald, all glittering together in an incredible mixture of light'.

When the early Opal finds in Australia made their way to the gemstone traders of London, the merchants did not believe the startling colors could be real and assumed they were somehow man-made.

Tourmaline

The name Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word, turmali, which means 'mixed gems'. For hundreds of years tourmalines have been a very valued gemstone but very often sold as another gem type according to the color - red for rubies, yellow for topaz and so on.

When the Conquistadors landed in Brazil in the 1500s the green tourmalines they discovered were immediately labeled emeralds and sold around the world to unwitting buyers.

Scientists identified Tourmaline as a species in the 1800 but even as late as 1884, all-round egg-head, John Ruskin said of Tourmaline:

'The chemistry of it is more like a medieval doctor's prescription, than the making of a respectable mineral'.

Where are the October Birthstone found?

Opal

Although Australia is the source of around 90% of the world's supplies, other countries are also blessed with significant deposits. For example Ethiopia has become a major player in the Black Opal trade while Fire Opals and Hyalite Opals are most often found in Mexico.

Tourmaline

Brazil and Sri Lanka are still the source of much of the world's tourmaline but Mozambique and Tanzania in Africa are also top suppliers.

The states of California and Maine became the world's biggest producers of Tourmalines in the early 1900s and sold most of the gemstones to China.

What jewelry is the October Birthstones suitable for?

Opal

Opals are rated at 5.5 - 6.5 on Mohs hardness scale so care needs to be taken for certain types of jewelry - rings should have protective settings. Boulder Opals and Opal Doublets are durable enough for daily wear.

Many opals are cut into interesting odd shapes which can make unique jewelry items, especially pendants, brooches and earrings where durability is not such an issue.

Opal doublets are often found in singles, pairs and lots which are matched as closely as possible for this very individual gemstone making them an excellent choice for coordinated jewelry sets.

In addition to being the October birthstone, Opals are also the traditional gemstone to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary.

Tourmaline

Tourmalines are rated at a reasonable 7 - 7.5 on Mohs hardness scale so they are hard enough for most types of jewelry but a bit of care should be taken with items such as rings or bracelets which are exposed to more knocks and bumps than earrings or pendants.

In addition to being the October birthstone, Tourmalines are also the traditional gemstone to celebrate the 8th wedding anniversary.

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Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

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