Monday, October 1, 2018

October's Birthstone - Get your FREE October Gift Guide here!



Individuals born in October get to choose between two birthstones—tourmaline and opal. Each gem then unveils nearly limitless possibilities, as each one comes in a rainbow of shades and color combinations.

In fact, both of October’s birthstones came to earth through a journey involving rainbows, according to legend.

However, for the sake of this post, we will concentrate on the Opal.

The name opal is thought to be derived from the Sanskrit upala, meaning “precious stone,” and later the Greek derivative “Opallios,” meaning “to see a change of color.” The Roman scholar Pliny used the word opalus when he wrote about this gem’s kaleidoscopic “play” of colors that could simulate shades of any stone. 

Opal’s characteristic “play-of-color” was explained in the 1960s, when scientists discovered that it’s composed of microscopic silica spheres that diffract light to display various colors of the rainbow. These flashy gems are called “precious opals;” those without play-of-color are “common opals.”

Dozens of opal varieties exist, but only a few (like Fire Opal and Boulder Opal) are universally recognized. Opals are often referred to by their background “body color”—black or white.

Opal’s classic country of origin is Australia. Seasonal rains soaked the parched outback, carrying silica deposits underground into cracks between layers of rock. When the water evaporated, these deposits formed opal. Sometimes, silica seeped into spaces around wood, seashells and skeletons, resulting in opalized fossils.

Since opal was discovered in Australia around 1850, the country has produced 95 percent of the world’s supply. Opal is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho.

Wearing opal is well worth the extra care, though. For centuries, people have associated this gem with good luck. Though some recent superstitions claim that opals can be bad luck to anyone not born in October, this birthstone remains a popular choice.

According to Arabic legend, opals fell from the sky in bolts of lightning. Australian aborigines, meanwhile, believed that the creator came to earth on a rainbow, leaving these colorful stones where his feet touched the ground.

In 75 AD, the Roman scholar Pliny compared opals to volcanoes and vibrant paintings, noting that their dancing “play” of color could simulate shades of any gems.

During the Middle Ages, people believed that the opal possessed the powers of each gemstone whose color appeared in its sheen, making it a very lucky stone.

But Sir Walter Scott’s 1829 book, “Anne of Geierstein,” transformed opal’s lucky perception. The story featured an enchanted princess who wore an opal that changed colors with her moods. A few drops of holy water extinguished the stone’s magic fire, though, and the woman soon died.

People began associating opals with bad luck. Within a year after publication of Scott’s book, opal sales in Europe fell by 50 percent.

Discoveries of opal deposits in Australia revived opal’s image after 1850. The outback began producing 95 percent of the world’s supply, and many of its finest opals.

Among the ancients, opal was a symbol of fidelity and assurance, and in later history it became associated with religious emotional prayer. It was believed to have a strong therapeutic value for diseases of the eye, and when worn as an amulet, it would make the wearer immune from disease as well as increase the powers of the eyes and the mind. Furthermore, many believed that to the extent the colors of red and green were seen, the wearer would also enjoy the therapeutic powers of those stones.

Opal has always been associated with love and passion, as well as desire and eroticism. It is a seductive stone that intensifies emotional states and releases inhibitions. It can also act as an emotional stabilizer. Wearing an opal is said to bring about loyalty and faithfulness.
sources: American Gem Society, Jewels For Me




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7 comments:

  1. Lisa,

    I used to know more about birthstones. I didn't know that October had two stones. DH bought me a Maine pink tourmaline while vacationing there for our 25th anniversary. It's just the purrrtiest little thing, too. I worked with a girl years ago who loved opals. I'm thinking it must have been her birthstone but I can't swear to it. That's been too many years ago and my memory isn't the sharpest. Anywho it's always nice to learn something new about stones when I visit your place. Have a gemtastic day! ;)

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  2. It's amazing how much of an impact Scott's book had on the sale of opals. They are a fascinating stone.

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  3. I am born at the end of the Month and like opals but don't know much about tourmaline. Thanks for this informative post!

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  4. My birthday is in October and I researched Opal years ago, it is a beautiful stone. I love the information you give, it's really interesting to know even more about my birthstone.

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  5. I was always told you shouldn't wear opals unless it was your birthstone. I guess that was from Scott's book.

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  6. My first experience with opals was when my daughter ask for a opal ring when she was a teenager.
    Thank you for stopping by #OMHGWW last week, I appreciate it!!
    Hope to see you again next week!

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  7. Opals are beautiful :) Thanks for linking up to The Wednesday Link Up.

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