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October birthdays are lucky to have 2 magnificent birthstones - the Opal and the Tourmaline.
The name of the first October birthstone, 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".
The Opal October birthstone comes 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 this October birthstone was a symbol of purity, hope and truth and the Opal was believed to embody the virtues and powers of all coloured gemstones.
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 Emeralds.
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 also given to celebrate the eighth wedding anniversary.