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Birthstones are those precious gems that are used to represent the month a person was born. The idea of birthstones is ancient in origin. In the Book of Exodus, Aaron, a Hebrew high priest was said to be ordered by God to make a breastplate that held twelve gemstones, one to represent each of the 12 sons of Israel. Later, Christians reassigned these stones, using one to represent each of the 12 apostles.
Astrological birthstones, the gems that are currently used to represent each month of birth, are believed to be linked to the Tibetans, who believes that each stone had a mystical power. Those powers would protect those born in a specific month from certain dangers.
It wasn’t until 1912, however, that the Jewelers of American Association created a formal list of modern birthstones. This list is not only accepted in the United States, but throughout the world. October is a particularly interesting month for birthstones, as those who are born in this month get to choose between two gems: opal and tourmaline. Both stones are exquisite and extremely unique, as both come in a variety of shades and color combinations.
The word ‘opal’ is Greek in origin and comes from the word opallios, which means “to see a change in color.” Pliny, a Roman scholar, used the word to describe the unique gems unique rainbow color effect that could mimic the colors of any other gemstone.
Opals hail from Australia, where seasonal rains drenched the dry outback, which carried deposits of silica underground and left those deposits in the cracks between rock layers. When the rainwater evaporated, the silica deposits that were left behind turned into opal. Researchers first discovered the cause of opals color changing ability in the 1960s was the small silica chips that it contained, which diffract light to create a luminous display of various colors, similar to a rainbow effect.
There are several varieties of opals, but only a few varieties are officially recognized universally, such as the Boulder Opal and the Fire Opal. Traditionally, opals are referred to by their body or background color, which is either white or black.
The majority of the world’s supply of opals has procured from Australia; however, the gem is also mined in other countries throughout the world, including Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico and parts of the United States. This stone has a hardness of 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, which makes it very delicate and wearers should take care not to expose it to excessive temperature, direct sunlight or dehydration, as these factors can damage it.
The extra care that the opal needs is well worth it, however, as it is not only beautiful, but it has also been said to bring good luck to those who wear it; particularly those who are born in October.
The other birthstone that is used to represent those who are born in the month of October is tourmaline. The word tourmaline is derived from tura mali, Sinhalese words, which translate to “stone of mixed color” or “something little out of the earth.” As the name suggests, this October gemstone comes in a wide variety of colors. The reason for the varying colors is that this stone is made of a collection of complex minerals, each of which has a varying chemical compositions and physical properties. Tourmaline comes in such a wide variety of shades that high quality variations were once confused for emeralds, rubies and sapphires. As a matter of fact, one of the largest pieces of tourmaline ever, which was the size of a pigeon egg and was worn by Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, was once believed to be a ruby.
There are a total of 30 different types of tourmaline, and each one is unique from the other. For example, black or Schori tourmaline is iron-rich and is dark in color, with shades that range from a deep brownish hue to a bluish-black, while red or rubellite tourmaline has a high magnesium level, which gives it a red or pinkish color.
Tourmaline is created in pegmatites, an extreme igneous rock that is formed at the last stage of the crystallization of magma. They are filled with a mineral-rich liquid, and when it cools, the minerals within crystallize, and thus, tourmaline is created. This gemstone is mined in countries throughout the world, including Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Brazil, Mozambique, Pakistan, Madagascar and the United States.
The reason why this stone is so highly desirable lies in the fact that it comes in so many different colors, and it is considerably hard – a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This stone is not only beautiful, but it is also quite mystical; when it is exposed to heat and pressure, it can become electrically charged. The world famous inventor Benjamin Franklin actually used tourmaline to study electricity. This characteristic further adds to its allure.
While tourmaline does have a place in history, that history isn’t as steeped and fabled as other gemstones. That’s because compared to other gemstones, its discovery is rather recent. Black tourmaline was once used by ancient magicians to shield them against evil and negative forces. Today, it is still believed that this October gemstone can protect the wearer from various negative forces, such as radiation, toxins, pollutants, and even negative thinking. It also regarded as the ‘peace stone,’ as it is believed that tourmaline drives out fear and helps to calm the person who wears it.
October Birthstone Jewelry
If know someone who was born in the month of October and are looking for a sentimental gift to commemorate her birthday, or you were born in October yourself and you want to treat yourself, you will find that there are several types of jewelry that feature either tourmaline and opal.
Rings are perhaps one of the most common and most beautiful ways to wear both opal and tourmaline. They add beauty, elegance and grace to the hand of the wearer. Made in a wide range of styles and various metals, and made from different cuts of either opal or tourmaline, you will be sure to find an October birthstone ring that your loved one – or you, yourself – will adore. You can even find October birthstone rings that feature either opal or tourmaline as the focal point and are accented by other types of gems.
So, what type of October birthstone rings are available on the market? Here’s a look at some of the many options that you can readily find.
Solitaire Opal Rings
These rings feature a single opal. They are not accented by any other type of gemstone, but rather rely on the pure beauty of the opal itself to create a stunning piece of jewelry.
The gemstones used in solitaire opal rings can either be natural, meaning they have been mined from the earth, or they can be lab-created, a process that involves simulating that creates opals in nature. Natural opal rings will have a high price tag, but they offer a better quality, whereas lab-created opals are less expensive, yet durable; however, they don’t offer the same level of quality.
Opal solitaires can also come in a wide range of sizes and can be cut into various shapes. Round, oval, princess cut and emerald cut are just a few of the shapes that are available. They can also be set in different types of metal, ranging from yellow gold and white gold to sterling silver. The settings can be simple or ornate, and the same is true for the bands. For example, you may find an opal solitaire ring that features a delicate, plain, polished silver band, or one that is made of gold and features intricate details. Really, the options for solitaire opal rings really are limitless.
If you or the person you are shopping for is a bit more on the flashier side, an opal ring that is accented with other stones may be something that will better suit your style.
Like solitaires, opal rings that are accented by other stones can either be natural or lab-created. They can also come in a wide range of sizes and cut in various shapes. Settings can include white gold, gold and sterling silver, among other metals.
These opal rings can be accented by various types of stones. For example, they can be flanked on either size by cubic zicornia, or the opal can be completely surrounded by cubic zurcornia, and the accent stones may also run along the exterior portion of each side of the ring.
If you are looking for the most understated style, yet one that is simply elegant, an opal eternity band is a great choice. These rings feature opals that are set around the entire circumference of the ring; in other words, when you turn the band, opals will also show.
Again, like the previous two types of rings, the opals used in eternity bands can either be natural or they can be lab-created. And, like the other types of rings, they can come in a wide variety of styles and shapes, and they can also be set in a variety of metals. For example, an opal eternity band may feature raised round stones all the way around the band, or they can rectangle or square and have a flush setting.
No matter what your style or the style of the person you are shopping for is, you will be bound to find an opal birthstone ring that will be adored.
Like opal birthstone rings, there are so many different types of tourmaline rings available to choose from. No matter what your taste is, or the taste of the person you are shopping for is, you will definitely find a ring that captures the beauty of this stone. And, since this stone comes in so many different colors, you can find a shade that the wearer’s favorite color, too.
Solitaire Tourmaline Rings
Just like solitaire opal rings, solitaire tourmaline rings feature a sing gemstone that is set in the center of a piece of metal. The metals used in these rings can vary from white gold and yellow gold to sterling silver. And of course, the size of the stone and the cut can vary, too.
Accented Tourmaline Rings
This type of October birthstone ring features Tourmaline as the focal point, which is accented by another type or several other types of stones. For example, a pink tourmaline may be ensconced with cubic zirconia or even opals (a double treat for an October birthstone ring!)
These rings are also available in various shapes, sizes and cuts, as well as metal colors. The beauty of the tourmaline is further accented by the beauty of the stones that surround it.
Tourmaline Eternity Band
Tourmaline eternity bands feature several pieces of tourmaline, which are set into a band and extend around the entire exterior circumference of the band. In other words, no matter how the band is turned, tourmaline will always be exposed. Alternatively, other types of stones can be features in an eternity band in addition to tourmaline. For example, varying shades of the October birthstones may be showcased around the band, or other types of stones, such as cubic zirconia may be incorporated into the band. Additionally, the stones may be placed in a raised setting, or they may be placed in a flush setting so that they are flat against the metal and not raised up.
Whether you are looking for an opal or a tourmaline October birthstone ring, you will find no shortage of options. These rings can even be customized to further enhance their beauty and their significance; for example, they may be inscribed with a name or a date in the metal.
The beauty of both tourmaline and opal offer those who are born in October a wide variety of stunning jewelry to choose from to symbolize their birth month and show off their unique taste. As well as rings opals often feature in opal bracelets, opal necklaces and other jewelry.