October’s Duel Birthstones

Greetings! This note is long overdue, but between craft shows and storm preparation (and survival) life has been a bit busy. That said, I hope all of you on the East Coast came though the storm at least relatively unscathed. If not, I send positive thoughts your way and hope you get life back on track quickly and easily!

This note might be overdue, but it’s not too late to discuss October’s birthstone. To make this more interesting, October actually has two birthstones. Let’s explore each of them now.

The first birthstone is opal. This is a very soft stone that starts as a silica gel material which hardens through nature’s heating and molding processes. Opals possess a phenomenon known as opalescence, which is what causes the play of colors they are most famous for. What I mean is if you take an opal and turn it from side to side, you will see flashes of various colors which seem to dance within the stone. Sometimes they are large flashes and sometimes they are smaller flashes depending on the makeup of the stone. These flashes determine the value of the stone. According to American Gem Society, “Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue.”

Australia is the primary source of opals, but they can also be found in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Japan, and Ireland. In the United States, they can be found in Nevada.

Depending on the time period and location in discussion, opals can have either positive or negative metaphysical properties. Some believed the opal was a symbol of health, while others believed it was a symbol of death and darkness.

October’s other birthstone is tourmaline. This stone comes in a wide variety of colors including yellow, green, red, blue, pink, brown, and black and some are bi-colored.

As I was digging around to find out more about tourmaline, I found that it has an unusual property for a gemstone. When it is warmed or rubbed, it becomes charged with static electricity and can attract small bits of paper and dust.

Tourmaline, which is a fairly hard stone, can be found in Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the United States.

When it comes to the history and lore that surrounds tourmaline, there is very little compared to other stones because tourmaline is a more recently discovered stone. It is believed to be a calming stone and used to dispel fears. Gemologists are finding that many stones in history were misidentified as rubies, sapphires, and emeralds when they were actually tourmaline.

I did some searching as to why October has two birthstones, and I came up empty-handed. I’m also trying to find out how long its had two birthstones. If you know, please let me know!

Thanks for stopping by!

This image is an opal and shows the flashes of color I discussed. (Image courtesy of Gemological Institute of America. http://www.gia.edu)

 

This image shows the variety of colors in which tourmaline can be found. (Image courtesy of Gemological Institute of America. http://www.gia.edu)

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