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October birthdays are lucky to have 2 magnificent birthstones - the Opal and the Tourmaline.
The name of the Opal is believed to have originated in India (the source of the first Opals brought to the Western world), where in Sanskrit it was called upala, a “precious stone".
Opals come in a wide range of colours and can be iridescent with the dramatic play-of-colour inspiring writers to compare them to fireworks, galaxies and volcanoes. Bedouins once believed Opals held lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Ancient Greeks thought Opals bestowed the gift of prophesy and protection from diseases. Europeans believed they were a symbol of purity, hope and truth and were believed to embody the virtues and powers of all coloured stones.
The Opal is also the stone given to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary.
Tourmaline is the newer October birthstone. The name comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means “stone with mixed colours”, because it often has multiple colours in one crystal. Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling array of colours. Perhaps this is why ancient mystics believed that this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression
Tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones, one of the “rubies” in the Russian crown jewels, the “Caesar’s Ruby” pendant, is actually red (rubellite) tourmaline. A Spanish conquistador found green tourmaline crystals in Brazil in the 1500s and confused the stones with emerald.
The different colours of tourmaline are thought to have their own healing properties. Black tourmaline is believed to protect the wearer and give a sense of self-confidence. Pink tourmaline embodies love and is associated with compassion and gentleness. Green tourmaline promotes courage, strength and stamina. Tourmaline is given to celebrate the eighth wedding anniversary.