Opal and Tourmaline: A Tale of Two Gemstones

October babies are probably the luckiest as they have two birthstones to choose from — tourmaline and opal. Each gem is unique in its own way and comes in a variety of shades and color combination.


But what’s great about these two stones is the fact that they both went through a journey that involved rainbows as legend says.


Between opal (which separates light to showcase an interesting play of colors) and tourmaline (the color is reliant on trace elements in its chemical composition), October’s birthstones show a full array of gems that cater to each and everyone’s personal taste.


Opal Meaning and Symbolism

  • The word opal originated from the Greek word opallios which means “to see a change in color.” The Roman scholar Pliny used the term opalus when he described this gem’s kaleidoscopic “play” of colors that could imitate shades of any stone.


  • Way back in 1960s, scientists discovered the feature “play-of-color” of opals and stated that it is due to the microscopic silica spheres that diffract light to showcase a range of colors of the rainbow.


  • There are a variety of opals and but only Boulder Opal and Fire Opal are universally recognized. These gemstones are often referred to by their background “body color” — black or white.


  • The country of origin for opal is Australia. Due to the country’s seasonal rains, the parched outback tends to be soaked and thus carry silica deposits underground into cracks between layers of rock. Once the water evaporates, opal is then formed from the deposits. There are times when silica flows into spaces around skeletons, seashells, and wood which results to opalized fossils.


  • Opal was first discovered in Australia around 1850. The country produces 95 percent of the world’s supply of opals.


  • Other places that mine this gem are Honduras, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Brazil, and some parts of the U.S. like Idaho and Nevada.



Tourmaline Meaning and Symbolism

  • Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese words tura mali which translates to “stone of mixed colors.” What separates this gem from the rest is its broad spectrum of colors in every shade of the rainbow.


  • Believed to be a mineral, tourmaline is but a fairly complex group of minerals with a variety of compositions and physical properties.


  • This gem is mined in Madagascar, Nigeria, Mozambique, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and in some parts of the U.S. like California and Maine.


  • With a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, tourmaline is an ideal wearable jewelry. It also has a variety of colors.


  • The most impressive and interesting feature of this gem is its ability to become electrically charged through heat (pyroelectricity) and through pressure (piezoelectricity).


  • Black tourmaline was believed to be used by ancient magicians as protection against negative energy and evil forces. Even today, many still believe that it can aid against pollutants, negative thoughts, radiation, and toxins.


  • Since tourmaline is mined in plenty of places around the world, it’s quite rare to find gem-quality tourmaline in bright colors. This type of material means that the price of tourmaline can vary almost as much as the color.


So, if you’re born on October, you’re indeed very lucky! You get to choose which gemstone you’ll add in your jewelry collection. If you have friends who also happen to be October babies, why not give these gems as gifts. Opal and tourmaline not only make stunning gifts but they work well with other stones.

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