October Gets A Double Dose Of Birthstone With Opal And Tourmaline

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If you're lucky enough to be born in October, you are lucky enough to be able to have a choice when it comes to your birthstone. October's birthstones are opal and tourmaline, and both are equally beautiful and wearable stones. So sit back and decide which one is your favorite, or better yet, wear both!

The Opal

According to the ancient Romans, the opal is the "precious stone" and represents hope and love. Throughout history, it was compared to volcanoes, fire, and collections of stars. Other cultures claim that the opal contains supernatural powers. Ancient Greeks believed that the wearer was able to see the future and be saved from disaster and sickness. In Europe, it has always been a legend that the opal is symbolic of truth, hope, and purity, and it was previously thought to preserve the color of blonde hair.

Some modern legends include the fact that it is bad luck to wear the opal if your birthday is not in October, but that is believed to be a myth started from a novel written during the 1800s. Because of the fact that all colors are contained in the opal, it is thought of as a lucky stone to bring good health.

Colors of the Opal

The word "opal" comes from a Greek word that means "to see a change of color." Whether the opal itself is milky white or black, it will usually contain small flashes of color including red, blue, green, yellow, and orange. The beauty of an opal is the play between the color of the flashes and the background of the stone. Roman scholars were quick to point out that the stone contained the red, green, yellow, blue, and purple of the ruby, emerald, topaz, sapphire, and amethyst.

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Opal Mining

The majority of opal mines are located in southern Australia and Ethiopia. Other locations include Brazil, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and northern Nevada and Idaho in the United States.


Originally mined in the mid-1500s in Brazil, the tourmaline was believed to be an emerald, although the stone is found in a variety of colors. Having been confused with the emerald throughout history, the tourmaline was identified officially by scientists during the 1800s. The name "tourmaline" means "mixed gems" in a language derived from Sri Lanka because of the confusion early on.

Known as an American gem, tourmaline was first found in the U.S. in California in the late 1800s. The stone was praised during this time, and it was found in abundance in Maine as well as California. The largest tourmaline market at that point in time, though, was in China. The stones mined in Brazil during the late 1900s were found in such a broad range of beautiful colors that they brought great appeal to tourmaline jewelry in the marketplace.

Colors of Tourmaline

The tourmaline is found in many different colors, such as brown, black, dark yellow, green, blue-green, light blue, pinkish-red, red, and even colorless. This is the reason that centuries ago, it was confused for the emerald and possibly even other types of stones.

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Tourmaline Mining

In addition to California and Maine in the United States, tourmaline can also be found mostly in Brazil. Other popular locations for tourmaline mines include Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Malawi.