People born in October are lucky enough to have two birthstones, namely Opal and Tourmaline to commemorate the day they were born. Both birthstones are stunning, with numerous colour combinations, and spectacular colouring traits. 

Interesting Facts About October Birthstones

The largest and costliest opal was discovered in 1956 in Australia, in Coober Pedy. It was given the name “Olympic Australis” in honour of the Melbourne Games that were taking place at that time. The opal, weighing an enormous 17,000 carats, is worth more than $2.5 million. 

Olympic Australis

Queen Victoria of the UK was a huge fan of the opal and declared it to be her favourite out of all the royal gemstones. 

Tourmaline was so valuable to the Chinese that tourmaline trade was adversely affected globally in 1912 when the Chinese government suffered a collapse.

Deposits of opal have even been found on Mars! This was discovered in 2008 by NASA, when examining a meteorite that had fallen to earth almost 100 years previously. 

The Original Birthstone For October

Opal is the first named of traditional birthstone for October and has an interesting history. It is believed that opals first came from India, and were known back then, as “Upala,” meaning “precious stone,” in Sanskrit. Opals made their way to the Western world and became “Opalus” in ancient Rome. 

Opals are valued mainly for the phenomenon known as “play of colour,” with beautiful shifting colours in all shades of the rainbow. 

What Do Opals Symbolise?

According to the ancient Greeks, the October birthstones, give the gift of prophecy as well as protection from illness. Europeans have for a long time, believed that opals were a symbol of purity, truth, and hope. 

Victorian opal ring

Apart from being a birthstone for October, opals are also given as gifts for 14th wedding anniversaries. 

Where Are Opals Found?

Opals are found in numerous regions of the world, with Australia being the most productive. Other important sources include Mexico, Brazil, and Ethiopia, and deposits of this October birthstone have also been discovered in Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Peru, the USA, Turkey, and Central Europe. 

Prized black opals are found in New South Wales, Australia, in a small town called Lightning Ridge. 

How To Clean And Store Opals

The best and safest way to clean opals is with warm, soapy water. Using any other cleaning methods could damage the stone or filler material. Also, high heat or sudden temperature changes, as well as prolonged exposure to water, could cause the stones to fracture. 

Opals are only from 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, so it is best to store these stones by themselves. Avoid storing them with harder gems like rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds, to prevent them from getting scratched. 

Tourmaline The Most Recent Birthstone Name

The name “Tourmaline,” the newer of the two October birthstones, is derived from “toramalli,” the Sinhalese word that means “stone with mixed colours,” because these stones frequently have several colours in a single crystal. 

green tourmaline and diamond dress ring

Not many gemstones have the spectacular array of colours that are found in tourmaline. This could probably be why the mystics of ancient times believed that the stone, with its range of colours to suit every mood, had the power to inspire artistic expression.

The most popular tourmaline gemstones are the red and pink rubellites, as well as the neon green and blue-to-violet, and the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines. 

What Do Tourmalines Symbolise?

It is believed that each of the different colours of this October gemstone has its own healing properties. Pink tourmalines are the embodiment of love and are associated with gentleness and compassion. Green tourmaline is believed to promote courage, stamina, and strength, and black tourmalines are thought to give the wearer self-confidence and offer protection as well. 

Besides being one of the birthstones for October, tourmalines are also given as gifts to celebrate the anniversary of eight years of marriage.

Edwardian pink tourmaline and pearl pendant

Where Are Tourmalines Found?

Although Brazil is the region where tourmalines are most commonly found, the gemstones are also mined in Pakistan, Kenya, Afghanistan, Mozambique, and Madagascar, as well as a few other countries in Africa. Maine and California in the USA have also been important producers of the October gemstone. 

How To Clean And Store Tourmaline

As with opals, it is best and safest to clean tourmalines with a soft brush and warm, soapy, water. According to the experts, using ultrasonic or steam cleaners to clean the October gemstone should be avoided. 

Tourmalines are rated 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and are normally ideal to wear every day. The colourful October gemstones are usually tough enough to stand up to the light and most chemical cleaners but can be damaged by excessive heat. 

The Value Of October Birthstones

Several factors are taken into consideration when opals are valued, such as the pattern, thickness, colour, brilliance, size and cut, and play of colour. Red opals are rare and normally more valuable than others. 

Tourmalines are valued according to their colour, with the most common colours being green and pink since they are easily available, and not as valuable as others. Tourmalines that have a neon-blue colour, are known as “Paraiba,” which are quite rare and therefore more valuable. 

You can browse our collection of fine Tourmaline and Opal jewellery by following the links



October 01, 2021 — CG Hart